Every year, 125 million farmers in the tropical rainforest burn down forests to clear land for crops. This method of slash and burn ruins the soil, so after a year or two, the crops stop growing and the farmers set fire to the next piece of land.
Mike Hands discovered that slash and burn was depleting the soil of essential nutrients. And in his search for a solution, he found the Inga; a fast-growing tree that keeps weeds at bay, provides soil with nutrients, and allows crops to grow again.
Mike and his team at the Inga Foundation wanted a straight-talking, visually impactful animation that would break through apathy and grab the attention of an audience. The aim of the AltForest campaign is not only to explain the problem of slash and burn, but also to define a real and demonstrably effective solution that could eradicate the practice forever.
Although we're not a cynical bunch here, we confess that until we met the AltForest team, we were guilty of thinking that the steady destruction of the world's rainforests probably fell into the same category as death and taxes... one of life's regrettable certainties. So we were blown away by the fact that, at the heart of the AltForest mission is a simple idea with the potential not just to slow or even stop the damage done by slash-and-burn farming, but to reverse it. While we learned the specifics of the AltForest approach to protecting the Earth's most precious natural resource, it's fair to say we also learned never to assume that huge, impactful, positive change is impossible. And, as communicators, we have an important role to play in spreading the word.