Forest protection has never been so topical with the fires which, in less than a year, devastated Australia, Siberia, Africa, Bolivia or even the Amazon rainforest. Also, it is the equivalent of thirty football fields that are cleared per minute! And in the face of this overwhelming observation, a young Japanese man decided not to remain helpless. He set up his association for the protection of the environment and had the idea to create a smartphone application through which citizens around the world could help restore forests and protect the environment with a single click. But how is this possible?
WeMORI is an international non-profit organization founded in 2019 by Ian shimizu a 28-year-old Japanese activist very involved in the preservation of the environment. He defines himself as an “environmental evangelist” (just that!). His attachment to Nature finds its roots in his youth, which he spent on long walks, explorations, hikes in Japan as well as in other countries (Borneo, England).
His activist investment dates back to the university where during his studies he contributed the foundation in 2015 of the Japanese branch of 350.org, an international non-profit movement fighting climate change created by American students in 2008. After three years in this movement, he left it in 2018 for more freedom. Ian then travels through Japan for two years to raise awareness among fellow citizens about climate change and sustainable development. Difficult while the subject remains very little commented officially and in Japanese media focused on mass consumption.
Then in 2019, with 10 years of experience of activism, he founded WeMORI with Alex Siggers, a 33 year old Dane, also a lover of the forest. Initially a product designer based in Denmark, he seized the opportunity to use his experience in design, project management and startups in general to put them at the service of the environment. The choice of the name “WeMORi obviously owes nothing to chance. It will directly inform Japonophiles about the heart of the association’s action: because in Japanese the word “mori” (森) means “forest”. Associated with “we” (We) lan thus hopes to closely associate humans and the forest whose (over) lives are closely linked.
WeMORI has the ambition to mobilize an international community to save forests and bring about the transition to a regenerative society. Because thehe protection and restoration of forests have an important role to play in the fight against global warming and the loss of biodiversity at the global level. Forests absorb around 30% of global CO2 emissions annually and store half of the planet’s carbon reserves. They also form the ecosystem that shelters the most biodiversity, for example tropical forests represent only 9% of the Earth’s surface but are home to half of terrestrial animal species. It is an undeniable fact, to survive, humans need forests maybe more than they need us, not to mention the oceans which are also a major lung of the planet.
To act, lhe two young men have the idea of an application to which they gave the name of their association and gThanks to which they want to give people the power to protect and regenerate in a fun and easy way the rapidly disappearing forests in the world (15 billion trees are cut down every year). And that by simply acting with your fingertips! One click allows you to make a donation to support projects around the world gathered within the application. Projects committed against deforestation but also climate change and the disappearance of biodiversity and whose managers undertake to be transparent about the use of the funds they receive.
WeMORI will also inform you about the impact of your actions. You will know how much carbon you have helped store and how many endangered animal species you have helped protect. The app knows no borders and therefore has the potential to create and mobilize a global community towards a single goal, that of creating a world more favorable to forests and nature.
A kickstarter campaign was launched to support the development of the app. It must end on August 8 but it has already met with great success. raising almost € 22,000 (2.7 million yen) out of the € 6,582 (800,000 yen) initially needed, or more than triple the initial objective (achieved in less than 12 hours!). And in addition to funding an important project, each awarded support will allow the planting of a tree to restore the forests of Borneo and Kenya. For his part, the contributor will receive a gift made in collaboration with artists and craftsmen : a poster in Japanese “washi” paper or a t-shirt depending on the donation made.
The mobilization of contributors alone demonstrates their awareness and the active role that many of us are ready to take in safeguarding our environment. And in front of this unexpected craze, Ian now hopes to reach the 4 million yen mark, which is why we are keeping our fingers crossed for him. However, dare to remind that we will not be able to save our environment without changing the rules of our industrialized globalization. Making a donation on the platform and then going to an Ikea to buy the fruits of this globalization or consume industrial meat would make no sense. So, let’s not make donation a way to give ourselves a clear conscience to perpetuate a murderous pattern. Let’s dare to make a fundamental change!
To follow WeMORI’s activities, visit their website, their Facebook page, their account twitter or their instagram account.
Header photo: WeMORI’s Facebook
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