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Apple has awarded the Applied Environmental Research Foundation (AERF) a grant to help protect India's coastal mangrove population in the fight against climate change.
A mere 60 miles south of India's Mumbai lies Alibaug in India's Raigad district. This small coastal town features a modest population of just over 20,000 people, unpaved roads, palm trees, and open-air markets.
However, it also features something else — 21,000 hectares of mangrove forests, notable for their ability to protect against climate change. Mangrove roots help build strong soils that can act as physical barriers against rising tides, monsoons, hurricanes, and even tsunamis. In addition, the trees themselves are carbon sinks that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.
The mangroves, while important, are also threatened by legal farming, fishing, and logging. That's why Apple has awarded a grant to AERF in hopes of protecting such a precious resource.
The partnership aims to create "alternative, sustainable industries" that foster a symbiotic relationship between the local communities and the mangroves. Current agreements will support village members in exchange for allowing the AERF to conserve the ecosystem.
"The fight against climate change is a fight for the communities around the world whose lives and livelihoods are most threatened by the crisis, and that's where we've focused our work," Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of Environment said, "Our new partnership in India continues this momentum."
"With our work and awareness around the importance of mangroves," Archana Godbole, director of the AERF explained, "and opportunities to create sustainable income-generating activities, we've provided hope to the coastal communities in Raigad."
"To collaborate with Apple and Conservation International is a great opportunity to explore how mangrove conservation and community benefits can go hand in hand," she says.
The feature on Apple's Newsroom page goes on to profile villagers who live in the Alibaug region and explains how AERF is drawing from the villagers' knowledge and experience to help protect the mangroves.
Last year, Apple focused on education for Earth Day 2021. The company, through its various platforms, offered environmentally-minded content it hopes will serve as a catalyst for change and inform users about climate issues and other key matters.
In 2019, Apple partnered with Conservation International to protect and restore a 27,000-acre mangrove forest in Cispata Bay, Colombia. The pilot program was designed as a model for scaling carbon sequestration in global mangrove ecosystems, cutting down the emissions that are caused by deforestation.