Can you pay an elephant to fight climate change?

A still from the Context video 'Can you pay an elephant to fight climate change?'

Countries and businesses pay billions of dollars to offset their carbon dioxide emissions, transferring money to projects like forest or wetland restoration. But these markets have generally ignored wildlife, which are often critically important to the growth of their ecosystems.

For instance, researchers have found that if central Africa’s critically endangered forest elephants were to die out, the Congo Basin rainforest would shrink considerably. And that would be a disaster for the planet, which depends on those trees removing carbon from the atmosphere.

We traveled to Gabon to meet up with researchers studying the world’s largest remaining population of forest elephants, and spoke with experts finding innovative solutions to fund these animals’ conservation: creating a market that pays the elephants for the services they provide, to invest in rangers and local communities who can protect them.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel | Watch more videos like this



See all


We’re addicted to the things that we know are bad for the planet. Why is it so hard to quit them?

Lab Made

A series about an industry challenging the way we think about food and whether it can live up to its promise of changing the world


In this series, we explore how climate change and shifting consumer habits are forcing us to rethink the way we grow staple crops, from coffee to rice