Meet A Farmer: Maate Zaverio

November 24th, 2020

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In 2012, Maate Zaverio became a participant of Ecotrust Uganda’s Trees for Global Benefits project. Maate, who lived in the Maliba subdistrict of Kasese, planted 800 trees which are sequestering 406.8 tonnes of CO2 and will result in $1,220.80 in earnings.

The father of 21 children, Maate used some of his earnings to pay school fees and some to treat his chest sickness and other ailments. Maate also shared a very interesting observation which we also heard from several other participants: after planting trees he started getting better weather and more rain.

When asked, “What is your message to supporters of this project?” Maate responds. “Me, I thank you for giving us money. Because you are the people giving us jobs to do trees… We will see what we can do with it.”

After Maate passed away in October 2019, his son Ezira Mukulhameno started looking after the trees.

Learn more about the Trees for Global Benefits project at

Meet A Farmer: Beatrice Tibamwenda

November 5th, 2020

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Beatrice was one of the first interviews from COTAP’s visit to Ecotrust Uganda’s Trees for Global Benefits project. Since 2012, Beatrice has planted 400 trees which sequester 203.4 tonnes of CO2 and will earn her a total of $610.40. “Since I planted trees, it has changed my life,” Beatrice says. She also explains an interesting and unexpected side effect of the TGB project – how it brings people together and enhances their social lives. Rural community members like Beatrice are often spread out over large areas and, before TGB, did not have as many opportunities to meet and get to know one another.

Learn more about the Trees for Global Benefits project at

Introducing 3 New Projects in Mexico, Fiji, & Indonesia…

September 30th, 2020

Now when you offset your unavoidable CO2 emissions through COTAP, you’re enhancing landscapes and livelihoods in 6 countries: Nicaragua, Uganda, India, Mexico, Indonesia, and Fiji!

Chiapas, Mexico

Dating back to a pilot programme in 1994, Cooperativa AMBIO’s Scolel’te project is the longest-running ecosystem services project in the world. Scolel’te, which means “the tree that grows” in Mayan Tzeltal language, was the very first project registered under the Plan Vivo carbon standard. Spanning 9,150 hectares of restored and protected forests, Scolel’te has achieved projected carbon benefits of 550,331 tonnes and generated $1,017,945.80 for approximately 2,500 participating households. You can offset your CO2 through this project here.

Jambi, Indonesia

Coordinated by Komunitas Konservasi Indonesia (KKI) WARSI, the Bujang Raba Community PES (Payments for Ecosystem Services) project, conserves endangered primary rainforest in Sumatra’s Bukti Barisan forest through an avoided deforestation intervention programme, also referred to as REDD+. The project involves 5 indigenous communities in protecting tropical mountainous forests. Since 2016, 934 households have protected 5,339 hectares, verifiably preventing 227,460 tonnes of CO2 emissions. You can offset your CO2 through this project here.

Vanua Levu, Fiji

Through 2019, the Drawa Rainforest Conservation project has created $283,063.32 in income for approximately 120 inland village households in Vanua Levu, Fiji. Managed by the Nakau Programme and operational since 2018, Drawa protects 4,120 ha of tropical rainforest and prevents the emissions of 18,800 tonnes of CO2 per year. Drawa is owned by the indigenous Fjiian landowners, comprising approximately 450 people across five villages. You can offset your CO2 through this project here.

Meet A Farmer: Justina Gutiérrez Muños

December 23rd, 2019

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Justina Gutiérrez Muños is a 59-year-old resident of Mansico, near the town of Somoto in northwestern Nicaragua. She has lived in Mansico her entire life, has been farming since she was 12, and lives on her family’s farm with her brothers, mother, and her mother’s grandchildren.

Her family grows corn, beans, and sorghum as well as raises chickens. When the harvest is good the family earns income from the surplus crops, but when harvests are bad they’re only able to feed themselves and collect seeds for the following season.

On a typical day, Justina wakes up early to oversee crops’ progress and to manage field workers. She likes to be on the farm on the weekend too because it is a nice atmosphere with all of the trees, especially if it’s a beautiful day.

Justina learned about Taking Root’s CommuniTree project from her neighbor Aura Estela. She was extremely motivated to participate, because she has always liked to work with plants. During the 2019 season, her family planted 5,000 trees!

The newly-planted tree species on her farm provide many benefits and comprise Genizaro, Mandagual, Pochote, Madero Negro y la caoba. These trees help to preserve water not only for her family, but also for their neighbors and wider community. The trees improve the temperature of the farm (and the planet as well!). They provide wood, shade, better soil, and protection against erosion. For these reasons, and simply because she appreciates the trees’ beauty, Justina wants to plant even more next year. She’s also proud and competitive about her reforestation plots, and wants hers to be one of the best.

Justina and her family use their earnings – which come from the CommuniTree project’s substantial and direct sharing of carbon offset revenues -– for both planting and caring for the trees and for making farm improvements such as irrigation. In this way, their carbon income supports many activities that improve their farm and hence their livelihoods and resilience!

Learn more about the CommuniTree project at and offset your CO2 emissions through this project here:

COTAP’s Open Letter To George Monbiot

October 23rd, 2019

To: George Monbiot

Subject:  Plan Vivo and your “Climate Solutions Allies” duplicity

Hello George –

Greetings from the Plan Vivo stakeholder event in Edinburgh!  It was in fact kicked off with the truly excellent video w/you and Greta Thunberg.

I’m seeing that Plan Vivo is on your Natural Climate Solutions allies page (

As you know, the PV network has restored landscapes, improved livelihoods, and generated 3.5 million tonnes in emissions reductions, primarily through avoided deforestation and tree planting.  These emission reduction units are carbon offsets.  Several of your other listed allies are also involved in this form of carbon finance, which is one among many valid tools.

I actually agree with many of your points about offsetting, and COTAP makes efforts to ensure it’s properly framed and contextualized.  One of those efforts was arranging for two of our partner project leaders to appear in this recently released Climate One podcast (  On a related note, here’s another piece we’ve recently facilitated

As you suspect, I’m getting in touch to point out that your current position on offsets and your Natural Climate Solutions allies page are at odds.  The truth – borne out by Plan Vivo for over a quarter century now – is that offsetting, done properly, and natural climate solutions walk hand-in-hand on a regular basis.  As they say, “where there is a difference of opinion, there is room for enlightenment.”

You cannot have it both ways – appropriating only your preferred attributes of Plan Vivo and similar entities, while also completely trashing offsetting – and also continue to go unchecked.


Tim Whitley