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National Public Radio reports that climate change experts are eyeing the Mata Atlantica rainforest in eastern Brazil as possibly holding one key to the reduction of global warming. And the key, as it happens, could be chocolate.

The story is at once complicated and simple. “There's a lot less rainforest than there once was,” NPR reports. “There used to be 330 million acres of rainforest in eastern Brazil, called the Mata Atlantica. Settlers arrived hundreds of years ago and began destroying the forest for the wood, and to create fields for pasture and crops. Only 7 percent of the Mata Atlantica remains, and destruction is still going on. Every time a tree is burned, its stored carbon is released. As more carbon is released into the air, the planet gets warmer.”

So what experts are trying to do is give farmers an incentive to save the rainforest, in part by replanting trees there. Preferably cacao trees — the source of chocolate. Studies are being done to see if cacao tree farming actually can have an impact on global warming, which, if successful, could lead to all sorts of environmentally driven financial benefits for the farmers.

KC's View:
It isn’t hard to imagine that some chocolate companies will be pushing “save the planet chocolate bars” before this whole thing is done. Which is fine by me.

Of course, I suppose there will be some people who will suggest that rainforests are overrated, and who will be skeptical about the whole thing. They’ll say that such moves can’t even move the needle on global warming, which isn’t really a problem anyway, and therefore people shouldn't even bother.

But I’ve always believed in the small gesture, the tiny and almost unnoticed effort that can, when duplicated over and over and over, change the world. So put me down for some of that “save the world chocolate” right now.

(I can't believe I’m bringing global warming up again…but I’m a prisoner of the new stories that pop up on my laptop screen…)