We all know and love the '90s classic movie "Fern Gully," in which a bunch of fairies -- and their animal friends -- must band together to save their rainforest from destruction. It's a cartoon, but at its core, the story is far from fiction. In fact, right now, in the Lac Tumba landscape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that same threat of ruin is a reality.
But one man is fighting back to save the rainforest and keep the land for all people -- and animals -- who call it home.
Godi Godar grew up in Lac Tumba and has made it his life's mission to make sure it's saved from the big corporations that want to use it for mineral extraction and timber, among other things. In an interview with MTV News, Godi elaborated on the situation in Lac Tumba. "If they find maybe diamonds and gold in that region, that forest is going to be gone," he said, "And that's the biggest threat if we don't protect the forest. Eventually, all these animals and these species and the communities there... it's going to be devastating [for] everyone."
It's why he started Go Conscious Earth -- a not-for-profit organization that helps sustain African rainforests, such as the one in Lac Tumba, by partnering with indigenous communities. In an agreement with the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, GCE was able to successfully save a million acres of land in Lac Tumba. Now, they're trying to save another million acres, but in order to do that, they have to raise $120,000 in a year. Here's a breakdown of what that money will go toward:
Per their Indiegogo page, "If GCE does not reach its goals, the nearly one million acres of rainforest will be returned to the DRC government and would inevitably be sold or leased to corporations that would destroy it."
Besides saving the myriad animals that inhabit the region -- such as bonobos, elephants and leopards -- GCE is committed to giving the indigenous people power to manage their own land.
"There’s all this rainforest, especially in this part of the world [and it] belongs to the people that live on it," Ariel Rogers, GCE's CEO told MTV News, "and we would like to facilitate a way for them to have ownership and to have stewardship and be able to raise money on their own land, just like we do in the United States."
"At this point we're talking about water wells [and] clean water, but in the future we're talking about education and women's income generation, so all kinds of sustainable economics," Ariel elaborated, "So I think that what you're seeing when you look at the environment and the world’s environmental stage, this kind of conservation is the kind that lasts. It's the kind that works for generations to come and that’s one of the reasons why we’re so passionate about it."