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Swedish ex-PM Ola Ullsten backs Living Rainforest
Ola Ullsten, the patron of The Living Rainforest and former prime minister of Sweden, has arrived in the UK to lend his support for The Living Rainforest’s plans to build the world’s first carbon-neutral rainforest glasshouse. The project is now within striking distance of proceeding but needs to raise the final 25% of funding commitments by April.
Dubbed the ‘Green Greenhouse’, the energy-efficient building has been designed to trap the sun’s energy and store it underground for winter heating. The project will demonstrate how to extend the time that greenhouse heat can be stored – from over-night to over-winter – while eliminating the use of expensive and CO2-polluting fossil fuels, which add to climate change.
“Forests are vital for storing carbon and protecting the world against dangerous climate change. And this project at The Living Rainforest is crucial because it will show how greenhouses can be heated without adding to climate change,” says Ullsten.
Greenhouse growers are excited by the potential of the technology to help produce local, carbon-neutral protected crops such as tomatoes and ornamental flowers, and helping to reduce spiraling oil costs. To help share emerging knowledge in this field, The Living Rainforest has organised a special ‘Greening the Greenhouse’ conference in early April (see www.livingrainforest.org).
“While it costs a lot to build a ‘green greenhouse’ today, demonstration buildings like ours are important for testing ideas and helping to develop cost-effective designs for the future,” says Karl Hansen, the Living Rainforest director. “We see this as part of our wider role in supporting sustainable living.”
The Living Rainforest plans to use the new building to extend its educational exhibits of tropical plants and animals, including the creation of a new ‘free-range’ home for its family of Goeldi’s Monkeys.
The project has attracted hard-won support from funders, including a grant of over €2.3 million from the European Commission. The Living Rainforest has now raised 75% of the funds needed to proceed. The sustainability charity is now appealing to national and regional government and industry partners for the remaining 25%.
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