At Bloomtrigger we are excited to announce our latest partnership with a company that is very much aligned with our core values. Sumak Sustainable Travel are a London based travel company who offer adventure and community-based eco-trips to Latin America for the independent and discerning travellers looking to really connect with the local life and culture of the places they visit. Sumak has a network of communities all over Latin America, who are protecting their cultures, land and ecosystems through tourism. These communities are adopting a sensitive model of tourism that avoids the traditional bad practices of mass tourism and as a result, they are providing more authentic and rewarding experiences for the discerning travellers. Examples include star-gazing in the Atacama Desert (Chile) with the Linkan Antay people, ceramic craftsmanship with rural communities in Salta (Argentina) and jungle walks into the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Colombia.
At a local level, the net economic and environmental impact of community-based ecotourism is hugely positive. However, tourists are increasingly concerned about the impact of flying to Latin America, in particular with regards to CO2 emissions and their effect on global warming. However the good people at Sumak Sustainable Travel don't think that the best way to reduce CO2 emissions is to make people feel guilty about it and encourage them to “offset their emissions”. Instead, they searched around for an innovative non-market-based solution that will contribute to preserving the Amazon rainforest and increasing the sequestration of CO2* from the atmosphere, which is how they discovered The Bloomtrigger project.
The Bloomtrigger project brings together individuals, businesses and primary school children enabling them to support local forestry communities on the ground by promoting sustainable development and environmental awareness. Bloomtrigger, a UK-based Community Interest Company (CIC), sells a virtual currency called blooms, where 1 bloom costs 50p and will help to protect 50m2 of rainforest. The money is then invested into a conservation project that helps develop sustainable livelihoods for the forestry community on the ground.
For each traveller who books an eco-trip with Sumak Sustainable Travel, a percentage of their booking is donated to the Bloomtrigger project. The average donation is £30, which will purchase 60 blooms and help to protect 3,000m2 of Amazon rainforest. Travellers have the option to plant the blooms on the virtual map of the forest themselves or donate them to a school. This money is then invested responsibly into a community agroforestry project in the Peruvian Amazon, in collaboration with the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) of Oxford University and the Crees Foundation.
Bloomtrigger’s main approach is to pioneer creative tools based on an online model of environmental education to help tackle the problem of global deforestation and the ‘disconnection’ between urban children and their relationship with the environment. Bloomtrigger wants to offer the next generation of young people a simple solution that enables them to take action against climate change through protecting forests, whether they live in an inner suburb of London or a remote village in Africa, anyone with internet access can become a part of the project.
Children at Townfield Primary School with bloomtrigger’s gorilla ambassador Boris ‘Bo’ Jr.
Sumak have already invested blooms into Townfield Primary School in the UK, so that the pupils can earn these blooms as rewards for good behaviour or marks at school. Travellers can also decide to give their blooms to friends and family, to encourage more people to protect the rainforest with them. "Sumak Sustainable Travel is now on the map!" It's official people and here is the image below to prove it. Writing this message on the Bloomtrigger map involved Sumak planting 55 blooms (each character or image uses one bloom to plant). At a cost of £27.50 it is a simple way to help protect 2,750m2 of Amazon rainforest, which will help to keep approximately 82 tonnes of CO2 sequested in the ground and not adding to global warming in our atmosphere!
The Bloomtrigger project is already happening in primary schools in England, Japan, Nepal and even in a remote village in the South of Sudan. Now we are now preparing to launch the project in Latin America, starting in Brazilian schools with the aim of supporting indigenous communities in the Brazilian Amazon. One such community is the Gavião, located on the indigenous lands of Igarapé Lourdes (185,000 Ha), in the state of Rondônia. Our objectives are to reduce deforestation, restore degraded areas, combat fires and illegal logging and to promote environmental education amongst the indigenous communities to preserve their unique culture and biodiversity.
All trips by Sumak Sustainable Travel already include guided visits to innovative, community-led social and environmental projects. In time, they will also start to include the forestry communities supported by the Bloomtrigger project in the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon rainforest.
At Bloomtrigger we believe our project is a simple and creative way to help protect Amazon forests, which can be integrated into many different types of businesses models to bring more value to resposible consumers. Increasingly people are looking to make sure that they are making significant and long-term impact when they buy a holiday or car or perhaps even a chocolate bar. We hope our new partnership with Sumak Sustainable Travel will prove a positive example for many others to follow.
*It is estimated that 1,000 m2 of Amazon rainforest can sequestrate approximately 30 tons of CO2.
How does protecting rainforest ‘save carbon’?
1 hectare of rainforest = 300 Tonnes of CO2
When calculating the carbon saving of helping to protect 1 hectare of rainforest from being destroyed, we are referring to the total amount of carbon locked up in all the trees and vegetation within that hectare, this is called the ‘carbon stock’. This is the amount of carbon that would be released into the atmosphere if that hectare of rainforest is allowed to be deforested.
Typically a hectare of rainforest contains between 300-500 tonnes of CO2. This amount varies due to factors such as vegetation type, climate and altitude. Therefore we are taking a conservative estimate of 300 tonnes per hectare.