Anne-Marie Bakker – Planting Trees for Peace & Security
This week on the podcast, I’m chatting to the one and only Anne-Marie Bakker. Power-woman. Environmental advocate. Don’t mess with her, passionate, problem-solver, connector. Tree-planter. And all round, bad-ass. She is a solid driving force in the fight for environmental conservation in the Philippines - one of the last remaining tropical rainforest areas. Some estimates state that forest cover in the Philippines has dropped from 70% down to 20% over the course of the 20th Century (check this report). Forests play a critical role in mitigating climate change because they act as a carbon sink—soaking up carbon dioxide that would otherwise be free in the atmosphere and contribute to ongoing changes in climate patterns. Deforestation undermines this important carbon sink function. According to WWF, some 46-58 thousand square miles of forest are lost each year—equivalent to 48 football fields every minute, and it is estimated that 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation. So what are the causes of deforestation? Well, illegal logging, fires used to clear land for agriculture, and fuel-wood harvesting. The impacts are overwhelming. But in this episode we’re going to hear from an environmental warrior extraordinaire. Anne-Marie is truly at the forefront of the effort to restore the lungs of the world. I remember one night, there was a group of us and we were all chatting. It was late at night and over a few beers and Anne-Marie was telling a story about a time that she was in walking by herself down a dirt road in one of the remote village-islands and how she scared away a group of rowdy guys with a large knife that she was carrying for scenarios like that. If you’re looking for stories of adventure, look no further than Anne-Marie. She is humble, down to earth, and a great storyteller. As the VP Operations & Partnerships at Fostering Education & Environment for Development (FEED) in The Philippines, Anne-Marie chats about how she does it all, her family history of and personal motivation for conservation, as well as some of the projects that she runs; one in particular that I find so fascinating, is the planting for peace program - engaging the people of Mindanao in environmental conservation through tree planting projects with the Philippines Defence Force, as a way of promoting peace in that region. I’m not going to give any more away – I hope you enjoy the show!