In my view there were two men who did most to stabilise the climate, protect forest, and preserve the homelands of indigenous peoples through 2013. They are Scott Poynton and Hugh Locke.
Scott’s work is enabling international companies to clean up their supply chains, to cease exploiting the remaining forests of our planet and the indigenous people who depend on them. Further more, he achieves this by helping these companies become more profitable whilst truly earning a green and humanitarian image. Scott’s two climate stabilising and human settlement saving achievements in 2013 have been the agreement signed between APP and the Indonesian Government regarding no more forest clearing for paper and pulp production, and the agreement between Wilmar and Unilever in similar manner for palm oil production. http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/IROL/16/164878/WIL%20Announces%20No%20Deforestation,%20No%20Peat%20&%20No%20Exploitaton%20Policy%20-%205%20Dec%202013_MR.pdf
Hugh’s work is focused on the plight of Haiti and its deeply impoverished people. In recent years Haiti has suffered incredibly from earthquake, tsunami and typhoon. Further more, the fuel people rely upon for cooking is charcoal. The burning of charcoal has virtually denuded the landscape leading to soil erosion and general impoverishment. But Hugh’s long experience among the poor of Haiti has enabled him to set up the Smallholder Farmers Alliance. Through this two thousand subsistence farmers are enabled to plant trees (one million a year!), improve the quality of their farms, and turn the corner towards self sufficiency and profitability.
For me what is specially thrilling about these two men is the fact that both were influenced in the choice of their life purpose by the words of one man – Richard St Barbe Baker, Founder of the Men of the Trees.
Further, both are working at the appropriate level to arrest climate change, both are working without financial support of government, both work for the improvement of the poor by focusing their attention on trees and forests.
This brief introduction can do no more than present these men and their work. Here is Hugh Locke’s Smallholder Forest Alliance story http://vimeo.com/74273999
Scott’s work was well written up by Michael Bahelard in the Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald in late March 2014 http://www.theage.com.au/environment/stopping-the-chainsaws-20140324-35cg9.html
I find their work represent opposite sides of the same coin. Both are committed to saving and improving forest cover, countering climate change, and helping indigenous communities.