Amazon rainforest. (Credit: Neil Palmer / Center for International Forestry Research via Creative Commons 2.0)
Selling tea could save the Amazon, according to a recent Scientific American article. Runa LLC is partnering with Kichwa villagers to preserve the Ecuadorian Amazon by purchasing guayusa tea leaves.
Tyler Gage and Dan MacCombie, founders of Runa LLC, wanted to market the tea but not at the expense of endangering the rainforest or displacing locals. So they employed about 3,000 farmers to collect tea leaves. As a result, the farmers generate revenue for their community and save their forests from being sold and cleared by developers.
When indigenous communities have secure land rights, they are better able to tend and preserve their forests. The Runa model could serve as an example for sustainable business and equipping communities to protect natural resources, but only time will tell.
Deforestation limits the amount of trees and plants to combat rising carbon dioxide levels and is responsible for 11 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions annually. The scientific community views forests as valuable tools for combatting climate change.
Top image: Amazon rainforest. (Credit: Neil Palmer / Center for International Forestry Research via Creative Commons 2.0)