During Humanity Risings 12-day broadcast on COP 26, we learned from Rob de Laet about the Importance of the Rain Forest. 

Following COP 26 Rob Laet published another article, applying his deep knowledge of the forest and the power of the water cycle to the challenge of cooling the Earth. We have received permission to publish Rob’s article below. The relevance for cities is again obvious – in order for us to address climate change we need not only to embrace the CO2 issue, but it may be even more important for us to appreciate and respond to Gaia’s water cycle as it supports not only the Amazon Rain Forest but all life on the planet. Thank you Rob for permission to share your insights in this blog.

by Guest Contributor: Rob de Laet


To understand why we have such a perfectly balanced climate on planet Earth conducive to life that has been developing for 3,8 billion years on our watery planet, we need to accept and postulate that the planet is alive. ‘’The available paleodata testify for a stable maintenance of the values of global mean surface temperatures within the interval 5-25 C during the last seven hundred million years.’’ (A. Makarieva [1]). It is complex, interactive life itself that is regulating the global surface temperature through the interaction with the water cycle, with water being the major greenhouse gas on Earth. The fact that the Earth is alive, is a basic understanding of Indigenous knowledge. Now western science needs to accept this Copernican shift in mindset and step out of the geo-mechanical world view in order to solve the crisis of life on our planet in dialogue with nature. The damage we have done to the biosphere will soon pass tipping points that will take her millions of years to rebalance into a new homeostasis, most likely without the human species, unless we act with this insight and with action the size and speed needed to turn the tide as fast as we can.


Forests are planetary organs of our planet that cool in at least three powerful ways:

  • Storage of water in its soils and vegetation and sequestration of atmospheric carbon [2]
  • The biotic pump function irrigating the continents and transporting heat to the outer atmosphere
  • The creation of clouds increasing the albedo-effect of the planet reflecting energy back into space

Emerging science [3] supports the insights that the combined cooling effect of these three mechanisms is much stronger than currently understood. Forests can really cool our planet!

Through forest and forest-like smart landscapes, including agroforestry and climate-smart cities, we can cool the planet at the speed and scale needed to avert a climate catastrophe. Restoring nature at scale will not only harvest significant amounts of CO2 but will also effectively restore the cooling capacity through the hydrological cycle, driven by the interaction between forests and the atmosphere and the recreation of lifegiving soils, securing carbon. We can reactivate and enhance the cooling power of Earth considerably by:

  • preserving existing forests and creating new biodiverse forests
  • supporting farmers worldwide to create agroforestry landscapes for food production with high cooling capacity.
  • support smart regreening of our cities and other human infrastructure.

In return, nature will not only increase the Earth’s cooling capacity, it will also have a dampening effect on extreme weather events and regulate the hydrocycle better, decreasing the immediate damage to the global economy. This frontloading of regreening the planet and especially the tropical zones, has positive consequences for the economy, from the perspective of risk management and has a large positive social impact, inverting the deeply painful inequality that exists. Meanwhile we can achieve our climate goals faster, cheaper and in a way that is just and deeply meaningful.

But we are running out of time, and we need to get this underway in years before climate chaos is overtaking us. Top scientist Luciana Gatti of INPE (the Brazilian counterpart of NASA) tells us that we have five years to avert a tipping point [4] in the Amazon Rainforest. Once we lose that forest, all our other efforts will be in vain.


To turn things around, we need to embark NOW on this connected set of connected projects:

  1. Spread the deep knowledge that we are part of a living, intelligent planet and bring new research to the front page demonstrating the combined cooling power of especially tropical forests, which has been hugely underestimated. Two cooling mechanisms have been largely overlooked: the biotic pump function and the formation of clouds by healthy forests increasing the albedo of the planet, reflecting energy back into space. The effect of healthy soils created by the foliage, creates sponges that retain water longer, increasing the time that vegetation can grow.

We are calling on a group of top scientists [5] to calculate the total cooling effect, but it is very likely that the outcome is astonishing and shows that we can cool the planet with forests, while the decarbonization of the economy and the energy transition are continuing, driven by a price on carbon between 50 and 100 USD per ton and all the while the principles of Doughnut Economics and circular economics are being applied.

2. Create a global financial structure for sizable amounts to enter the regeneration at scale and speed, involving the payment of hundreds of millions of people, minimizing red tape through technology:

3. Create a digital architecture for global regeneration, existing of three elements:

  • A. A global, but partly regionalized platform to bring all stakeholders of regeneration together with their skill sets, possibilities, finance, project proposals and needs together to create a global regreening project ecosystem, powered by hybrid finance including the automated payout of carbon credits based on satellite measurements of biomass increase.
  • B. An application, called the Arara App connecting the rural poor to the internet, including information, communication, (micro-) finance and income based on the creation of biomass, C. Once A & B have sufficient volume, the creation of a regenerative currency called Earth to provide the flywheel of regeneration by keeping the currency circulating within the regenerative economy.

4. Roll out large projects on the tropical continents to pay for the protection and regeneration of forests and the introduction of large scale multi layered forms of agroforestry to produce food and other produce, while having a global moratorium on the destruction of all primary forests and continu protection, regeneration and reforestation efforts in the other climates.

5. The most urgent of these large projects is the creation of the Great Green Wall for the Amazon Averting the Tipping Point of Dieback of the great forest before the dieback gathers pace and becomes an unstoppable run-away effect.

6. Start large scale local pilot projects based on the above knowledge and possibilities in 2022. In Brazil, the 413.000-hectare Araribóia Indigenous Territory of the Guajajara People is ready to implement this under the leadership of the Indigenous Peoples. It will include tokenization for nature protection.

7. Roll out dozens of ambitious > 1000.000-hectare projects in the tropics, specifically in West- and Central Africa, mountainous regions of Eastern Africa, in Southern and NE India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, South-China, on Sumatra, Kalimantan , West-Papua, North Australia, mangroves and even regreen some deserts.

I am asking you to connect your heart to our living Earth and future generations and help create a fast, huge mobilization based on these insights the size of which is unprecedented and join hands with Nature to avert a climate catastrophe through a sweeping movement taking over COP27 as a starting point to cool our beautiful, living, intelligent planet of which we are all born, our only mother Earth.

‘’Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’’ Margaret Mead

Ubaíra, Brazil, 11 December 2021

Rob de Laet

About the author: Rob de Laet

Co-founder of the World Climate School, member of Climate Change and Consciousness, Guardians Worldwide, Alliance for the Restoration of the Amazon, Doughnut Brazil, Metamorphosis, Amazon Investor Coalition and Extinction Rebellion.

Rob de Laet, Dutch, born 1956, adventurer, world traveller, philosopher, now living in a remote valley in the Brazilian rainforest, regenerating and rewilding himself. From an early age in the grip of the question of consciousness, the crisis humanity was heading for and is now in the midst of. Since 2013 full time focusing on resolving the crisis our species and planet are in. Member of several climate organisations.

‘’We will need to reinvent ourselves urgently to create a sustainable future for our offspring and all living creatures. We need to limit the damage to Nature and reconnect to our beautiful living, intelligent planet Earth, while birthing a new collective consciousness and an ecological civilization. In fact we need to all realize that we are indigenous to this miracle that is our planet, our only mother Earth.’’

With special thanks to: Hans Joergen Rasmussen, Stephanie Mines, Daniel Pinchbeck, Connie Meyer, Carlos Nobre, Antonio Donato Nobre, Inger-Mette Stenseth, Charles Eisenstein, Jonah Wittkamper, Marcel de Berg, Pieter Paul de Kluiver and my dear uncle Guboo Ted Thomas.


[5] Scientists we are reaching out or talking to, in order to form a group to quantify total minimum forest cooling effects:

Dr. Antonio Donato Nobre

Dr. Luciana Gatti

Dr. Anastassia Makarieva

Dr. Peter Bunyard

Dr. Ugo Bardi

M.sc. Pieter-Paul de Kluiver

Dr. Walter Jehne

and Tartatchenko, Pocorny, Duvellier, Millan.

Additional reading:

Biotic Pump Greening Group

Tokenizers can help protect the Amazon Forest and the Climate

Green Water Cools