Greeks Launch Grassroots Campaign To Save Paradise Forests
Only 20 percent of the world’s ancient forests remain in large, intact tracts. Today, some of the ancient forests under greatest threat are the Paradise Forests of Southeast Asia, which stretch across the islands of Indonesia, on to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific. To create awareness for the issue, sisters of the Rensselaer chapter of Alpha Omega Epsilon (A.O.E), and brothers of Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI), launched an email campaign to save the Paradise Rainforests.
On Oct. 5, the organizations were on hand to pass out fact sheets and gather signatures from members of the campus community. More than 350 signatures were obtained, and fraternity and sorority members were able to send more than 2,450 emails to seven different companies involved in massive deforestation.
“The campaign to save the Paradise Forests is really important to us,” said Sam Brown, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering and math who is also vice president of community service for FIJI.
“I strongly feel that nature is the highest priority and at the same time is tremendously abused,” Brown added. “I choose to protect the rainforests because of the massive threats facing it. This joint effort serves as a way to get students involved, and bring global issues to the Rensselaer campus so that students can learn to become better stewards of the earth.”
The Paradise Forests include tropical rainforests and mangrove, coastal, and peatland forests, while monsoon and deciduous forests flourish in the drier and more mountainous regions. They shelter rich number of plant and animal species, many of which occur nowhere else on Earth. The orangutan, Sumatran tiger, and the world’s largest flower—the three-foot wide rafflesia—all call the Paradise Forests home.
“I’m glad that I was able to support this campaign,” said Emily Nebiolo, a junior chemical engineering major who also serves as philanthropy chair for Alpha Omega Epsilon. “It is a great experience being able to reach out to so many RPI students and faculty about this pressing issue because I strongly believe in the importance of the environment and the need for its protection.”
The two organizations plan to continue their efforts in seeking additional signatures to further raise awareness and support to preserve the Paradise Forests. For more information, contact: Sam Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or Emily Nebiolo at email@example.com.