Earth Day 2019: Apple promotes mangrove conservation efforts in Colombian forests

The support is in response to illegal farming, logging threatening Colombia's forests ecosystems.

Earth Day has traditionally attracted environmentalists, conservationists, concerned citizens, civic and political leaders among others. But 22 April every year is also an opportunity for tech companies to promote their efforts in conservation, let alone sustainable practices, as Apple did this year.

Apple posted a detailed account of its partnerships with a conservation group, Conservation International to protect Colombia's mangroves, which are hyper-efficient natural machines for capturing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The carbon they sequester is stored in the plant as biomass in mangroves, marshes and seagrass.

Mangrove forests in the Sundarbans. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Mangrove forests in the Sundarbans. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Though mangroves occupy just a fraction of the world's surface, they pack a punch with the amount of carbon they store over their lifetimes. Conserving mangrove ecosystems like the Sunderbans in India is made doubly-important by the fact that when they get damaged, they release their reserves of carbon into the atmosphere.

The organisation estimates that the mangrove forest and other damaged ecosystems could release as much as 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide a year — roughly the same as all the emissions from cars, buses, aircraft and boats in USA in 2017.

The world simply cannot afford to have any additional sources of carbon finding its way in the atmosphere than we already have today. The carbon trapped in the oceans and plant life growing alongside it is known as "blue carbon," and Conservation International’s project is the world's first to measure the "blue carbon credits" in trees and soil, according to a statement from Apple. CI also hopes to build a model for carbon sequestration in mangroves around the world, to curb emissions from deforestation in these areas.

Apple's statement about its partnership with CI comes only a week after announcing expansion plans for its recycling programs. The company said it was quadrupling the number of places in the US that their customers can send their iPhones for disassembly by Daisy, Apple's very own recycling robot.

As part of Apple's Earth Day promotional efforts, CEO Tim Cook also tweeted out a number of photos and encouragements.

Here are some of the other stories in our Earth Day 2019 series: 

Earth Day 2019: AI has a huge role to play in fulfilling sustainable development goals 

Earth Day 2019: We need to protect our species to prevent a global ecosystem collapse

Earth Day 2019: A world without insects is a world without fruit, coffee, and pizza 

Earth Day 2019: Understanding Project tiger, a homegrown conservation success story

Earth Day 2019: Migrations remind us we are one among a million other species looking to survive, sing and love 

Earth Day 2019: Restored forests are often poor replacements for natural habitat

Earth Day 2019: To solve the climate change crisis, we need a Global Deal for Nature

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