If you see a forest in Ethiopia, you know there is very likely to be a church in the middle, says Alemayehu Wassie. …

These small but fertile oases — which number around 35,000 and are dotted across the country — are some of the last remaining scraps of the tall, lush natural forests that once covered Ethiopia, and which, along with their biodiversity, have all but disappeared.

Much of the nation’s forestland has been sacrificed to agriculture to feed the country’s mushrooming population — at more than 100 million, it is the world’s 12th largest. Deforestation was particularly encouraged during the country’s period of communism, in 1974–91, when the government nationalized the land, including the large estates of the church, and distributed it to people who converted swathes to farmland. Just 5{b43a0fc0c6bef1f13a0ee688948bcd35a2a6d28785f026a3bff8ca14cb06d58e} of the country is now covered in forest, down from 45{b43a0fc0c6bef1f13a0ee688948bcd35a2a6d28785f026a3bff8ca14cb06d58e} in the early twentieth century.

Serving as an oasis is going to be our job with regards to knowledge, particularly religious and philosophical tradition in the West. Why do you think I prioritized Infogalactic over more potentially lucrative projects? Did you truly think I didn’t know there was considerably more money in clones of profitable corporate projects than in one of a non-profit?

What the Infogalactic team and the Burn Unit are doing matters, quite possibly more than anything else we are doing.