Planet Lovers & Protectors, my name is Capucine Dayen, International Communications Coordinator for Greenpeace Africa, but I go by Caps. In June last year, I joined the Congo Basin Forest Campaign Team and together we work to protect the second largest rainforest in the world from deforestation. It would probably take pages and pages for me to describe to you how magnificent and important this forest is but I am more of the visual type of girl so I produced this Vlog instead.
The reason I am writing this now is because we are at a real corner in our campaign work. You see, in recent weeks, our campaign team exposed that the DRC’s Environment Minister has reinstated three illegal logging contracts with Chinese companies. The contracts were earlier canceled by one of his predecessors because they violated a long-standing moratorium on new industrial logging concessions. Out of the three concessions, two overlap with the peatlands.
On top of it, the current DRC Minister of Environment Ambatobe, announced his ambition to lift the moratorium in place to protect the Congo Basin forest. We believe this would be an environmental and climate disaster in the making – especially considering that forest governance is practically non-existent.
I travelled for the first time to the Equateur Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on October 27th 2017 to embark on a three days expedition to alongside community leaders, Greenpeace campaigners, international and national journalists and scientists. Our aim was to find peat – an organic wetland soil made from partially decomposed plant debris.
Dr. Simon Lewis and Dr. Greta Dargie, from the University of Leeds in UK, had published a map of the central Congo Basin peatlands in 2017. Then, they estimated these peatlands to cover an area of 145,000 km2, meaning the Congo Basin Forest would be considered the most extensive tropical peatland complex in the world! So, this was the first time they were taking samples in the DRC.
Together with them, we ventured into the swamps where we patiently witnessed their on hand research. And here it was – peat of approximately 3.5m in depth! This was much deeper than they had expected on this spot, making the peatlands all the more important in terms of climate change. Pretty special! In other words, 30 billion tons of carbon lies there. That’s equivalent to 20 years of total fossil fuel emissions from the USA – can you imagine? If we don’t protect it and the forest around it, it could go into the atmosphere, which means serious trouble for our planet.
We are not giving up and we will continue to work hard to protect this prestigious forest.
If like me, you care about our planet and you believe climate change is our generation’s biggest challenge, then this forest and its peatlands should matter to you: it is key for our climate stability.
Let’s join forces together and protect it. What do you say?
Act now by keeping a close eye on our campaign work. Talk to your peers about the Congo Basin forest and its current threats. Share this on social media and make sure to follow @Greenpeace Africa to stay in the loop.
Thanks for watching & reading!
Capucine Dayen is the Greenpeace Africa International Communications Coordinator for the Congo Basin Forest.