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19 March 2012
The University has become a Size of Wales Forest Partner and is helping the indigenous Wapichan people in Guyana to develop plans for forest conservation and sustainable livelihoods.
Chosen by staff and students during the University’s Sustainability Week (31 Oct – 4 November 2011), the Wapichan Land Rights Guyana Forest Programme is helping local communities in Guyana establish their rights to over one million hectares of forest.
The whole forest area in Southern Guyana faces invasion by gold miners and loggers as well as infrastructure projects such as roads.
Environmental charity Size of Wales – which aims to bring everyone in Wales together to help sustain an area of tropical forest the size of Wales as part of a national response to climate change – is enabling Cardiff University to support setting up five community conserved forests in Guyana as part of its proposals.
Professor Tim Wess, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Estates who led the University’s Sustainability Week said: "Thanks to staff and students who voted for this project, the University is supporting Size of Wales in its work to help the indigenous community in Guyana to map their traditional lands, secure a legal title to their customary forests and develop plans for a sustainable future.
"Our support includes helping to raise funds for the project and providing our buildings and spaces for events. In return, we will receive regular news about the development of the project and where the money donated is spent - it costs just £1 to protect an area the size of a rugby pitch."
On World Forest Day (21st March 2012) staff, students and members of the public can find out first-hand about the project in a lecture held at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences.
Tom Griffiths, the anthropologist working with the Wapichan people of Guyana will speak about his work, the aim of the project and give an insight into life in the area. The lecture starts at 3.30pm and no booking is necessary.
Along with the Guyana Forest Programme, staff and students can get involved with a range of initiatives led by Size of Wales by volunteering their time or expertise or organizing a fundraising event.
Danielle Johnson from Size of Wales said: "People can get involved in many ways, from recycling mobile phones to organising a fundraising event. We have two key events this year, Join Team Size, where staff and students can do sponsored coastal path walks or half marathon runs to contribute to the Cardiff University Forest Project or National Go Green Day, where organisations across Wales are wearing green on the 19th October. To find out more about these events or organise your own visit www.sizeofwales.org.uk or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
"For students without much money, simply clicking ‘like’ on our Facebook page automatically donates £1 to the forest projects, protecting an area of rainforest the size of a rugby pitch, so everyone in the University can do at least one thing."
The University is already taking a leading role in sustainability science with its Sustainable Places Research Institute pushing the boundaries of traditional sustainability research with the aim of finding solutions to the challenges of diminishing resources and climate change.
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