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The CO2 offsetting program for INEX study abroad programs.

We strongly believe in the value of INEX study abroad programs and the impact they are having on young changemakers and all other people involved in the process. At the same time we are very aware of the emissions set free through international air travel to the program. Since we are very much caring about the environment INEX has therefore started its own CO2 offsetting initative – where you can be sure that the right things are done to compensate.

For the years 2008-2010 INEX will support the “The Rainforest of the Austrians” and the Association for the Conservation and Protection of the Esquinas Rainforest in Costa Rica by the following  means:

  • For each participant of the INEX Summer University programs, INEX will purchase 100 m2 (!) of rainforest! (Please see the certificate on the right side of this page.)
  • For each INEX Summer University program taking place, INEX will adopt one toucan out of the Esquinas rainforest! (Please see the certificate on the right side of this page.)

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INEX and the Rainforest of the Austrians share the holistic approach of Sustainable Development through conservation, climate protection, research, ecotourism and regional development and aim at uniting these core values within each project.

Even though INEX study abroad programs reinforce global understanding and guide future leaders on their path towards sustainbale decision making (which contributes to stustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals on the long run) INEX still dedicates this dooka laká initiative to the Carbon Offsetting for the travel involved.

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Remember: Each protected hectare binds more than 300 tons of CO2 that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere!!

Please note that INEX is a not for profit organization and will sponsor this activity up to its financial capabilities. For programs after the 2008-2010 period we still have to secure funding. Please therefore also donate on your own behalf at www.regenwald.at.

If you sincerely want to learn about sustainable development, travel to Costa Rica and be part of a life-changing experience you might want to consider one of the INEX programs. For more information use the navigation bars to your left.

The Rainforest of the Austrians Initiative: saving the Esquinas rainforest

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Until a short time ago, the 146 square kilometer (56 square mile) Esquinas rainforest in southern Costa Rica was severely endangerd by logging. Its biodiversity is one of the largest on this planet: up to 180 species of trees per ha, 3000 species of plants, 320 species of birds and rare animals such as jaguars, ocelots and four species of monkey. The whole protected area covers around 800 km2 or 300 square miles. National Geographic Magazine has called it “the most biologically intense place on earth”.

In 1991, the Esquinas forest, one of the last unprotected lowland tropical rainforests on the Pacific coast of Central America, was declared Piedras Blancas National Park. However, since all land was in private hands, it could only be catalogued as a “paper park” until it was owned by the Costa Rican national park service. Logging permits for tropical hardwood trees had been issued before the declaration of the park and deforestation continued, inflicting irreversible damage. This prompted, Michael Schnitzler, a well-known classical violinist from Vienna and part-time resident of Costa Rica, to found a non-profit organization called Rainforest of the Austrians with the goal of raising funds to buy property in the Esquinas forest.

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By 2007, over 15.000 Austrian individuals had donated more than $3,200,000, enabling the purchase of more than 15 square miles of forest. Nobody has been expropriated. All land owners have sold their property voluntarily and have received the fair price stipulated by government evaluations (avalúos). All property, most of which had exploitation permits for logging, has been donated to the Costa Rican government and become part of the national park; logging in these areas has ceased. With the help of the Costa Rican government, the hydroelectric company Tenaska, The Nature Conservancy, and the Moore Foundation, 70% of the Esquinas forest had already been purchased by end-2007.

Since 2003, Rainforest of the Austrians has donated funds to the Corcovado Foundation for the employment of two park wardens. The organization has taken an active role in the campaign against illegal logging and hunting and regularly meets with park officials, rangers and members of the community.

In 2008, it funded the construction of a park ranger station in La Gamba. Rainforest of the Austrians has donated 30 acres of property and contributed more than $40,000 to The Nature Restoration Foundation for its successful scarlet macaw release project in Piedras Blancas NP. Hundreds of confiscated birds and mammals have been reintroduced into the Esquinas forest. Michael Schnitzler was awarded Austria’s highest environmental prize, the Konrad Lorenz Prize, for his conservation efforts, and was appointed Honorary Member of the Costa Rican National Park Service. Rainforest of the Austrians was awarded the prestigious, CHF 50.000 Binding Prize in Liechtenstein.