For the fifth consecutive year, members of This is My Earth (TiME) have successfully raised enough money through crowdsourcing to buy land internationally and turn it into a protected area, saving dozens of endangered species in the process.
TiME was established by Prof. Uri Shanas from the Department of Biology and the Environment at the University of Haifa in Oranim, and Prof. Alon Tal from Tel Aviv University in 2015.
Every donor (regardless of the amount of their donation) has a single vote to decide where in the world the next land will be purchased, and 100% of donations are allocated to buying and protecting land.
Every year, TiME members — now over 5,700 men, women and kids from all over the world — are presented with three choices of lands available for purchase, selected by the scientific committee, a group of volunteer scientists (all TiME officials and activists are volunteers).
This year, for the first time, TiME will acquire two plots of land in a single year: 500 acres in Brazil's Atlantic forest and 200 acres in the Dakatcha woodland in Kenya.
Each of these habitats has a wide range of species threatened by extinction, and members vote for the one that will be purchased and turned into a protected area.
The Serra Bonita mountain range in the Atlantic forest in Brazil was purchased for the amount of US $140,000. It is considered one of the highest priority conservation areas in the world, home to at least two critically endangered monkeys, the Northern brown howler monkey and the Buff-headed capuchin, as well as 27 endangered species of bird, among them the critically endangered Banded cotinga.
Since the organization completed its funding for the Serra Bonita before the end of 2020, it decided to organize a second campaign to raise money to buy another parcel of land in the final weeks of the year.
The second campaign was also a success, raising $40,600 to buy 200 acres in the Dakatcha woodland in Kenya, which serves as the only nesting place in the world for the rare and endangered Clarke's weaver.
One of the organization’s core principles is that the purchased lands are not owned by TiME but by local people or organizations, to avoid “green colonialism.” The land in Brazil will be managed by the Instituto Uiraçu, and in Kenya, by Nature Kenya – The East Africa Natural History Society.
“2.3% of the Earth's land mass are considered biodiversity hotspots that hold a large number of endemic animals and plants that are under threat, thus the small parcels that we purchase make significant contributions to protecting many species," Prof. Shanas said.
"It is the fifth year that we have shown proof of concept, that our approach, first thought of as naïve, is really working and changing the gloomy reality we live in. We started as a small group, but now we are expanding our activity, purchasing more lands and taking our educational program to schools in the USA and Africa, in addition to Israel. I invite people to join us and take part in changing the reality and our future direction on Earth,” concluded Prof. Shanas.