WHY ARE WE PLANTING TREES?
We love açaí! But not only because it is healthy and tastes incredibly good. The palms are one of the best ways to protect the climate. Correctly read! We therefore donate 5 cents per product to the Brazilian NGOs IPAM and Iniciativa Verde and support projects that reforest the rainforest.
According to scientists, afforestation is one of the most effective ways of reducing carbon in the atmosphere. In Brazil alone, a total of 49.7 million hectares are available for this purpose - where our miracle berry is at home.
In addition, trees significantly improve water and soil quality in the surrounding areas. There is no time to lose in the fight against climate change: It takes decades for forests to mature and develop their potential as natural CO2 reservoirs. Nevertheless we know: it is worth it. "If we act now, we could reduce the CO2 content in the atmosphere by 25 percent. The last time such quantities were seen was almost a century ago," says Tom Crowther, a researcher at ETH Zurich and lead author of the renowned reforestation study of our time.
WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE?
Brazil's export-oriented agriculture constantly needs new areas, which is why huge forests are being destroyed in the rainforest and the Cerrado savannah in south-eastern Brazil. The cleared areas are mostly used as pasture land at first, afterwards soya is cultivated on them. Many plots of land in Brazil are privately owned and used for agriculture. It is important to understand that the vast majority of fires set in the Amazon are not aimed at destroying the forest. The farmers are forced to burn down their land because they lack machinery and fertilizers and they have to make a living in some way. Most of them earn most of their money with the agricultural industry. On our trips through the Amazon we have seen the devastating dimensions with our own eyes: In 2019 alone, nearly four times more forest was cleared in the Amazon than in previous years.
We are proud of the successes of our young company history: in close cooperation with the Brazilian NGOs IPAM and Iniciativa Verde, we have already planted over 2 million trees since 2016 and saved over six million trees from being felled. As one of the most renowned independent organizations, IPAM has been working since 1995 for the sustainable reforestation of the Amazon by acting directly on the political, scientific and human levels in the Amazon. Our mission is the same: We will only protect the Amazon if we also ensure the financial existence of the people. Therefore we have to change our thinking!
One billion trees can stop climate change. Maybe you are asking yourselves: do we have that much room? "Yes, we do! "In the region around São Paulo in Brazil alone, there is a mountain range called Mantiqueira with an estimated area of one million hectares. Here alone, half the world's population could plant a tree, our IPAM partners know.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT IN WORKING TOGETHER?
Simply planting trees without considering the economic relevance of the yield would, however, drive many families into financial ruin. "Our aim is to create a new mindset among farmers," says Lucas Pereira, geologist and head of IPAM. An important part of our project is to educate local farmers. We show the locals the powerful benefits of an intact forest: By cultivating local fruits such as cocoa or Acai, they secure a stable and sustainable income in the long term, which naturally protects their environment. Contrary to the agricultural economy, no areas have to be cleared. The water quality improves, the soils become more fertile and nature flourishes. Besides modern agricultural practices, there is also a need for strict protection of the rainforest.
With the money we donate, we finance a project duration of two years: that's how long it takes to ensure that the seedlings thrive and that the farmers are able to continue their own business from then on.Only if they switch to plant-based, full-fledged forestry in the long term can they make a significant contribution to climate protection. Our goal is to support 100 families with cultivation and reforestation by 2021.
At The Rainforest Company, it is important for us to be in close contact with the farmers. We want to understand what their needs are and where we can really support them. We regularly visit the projects on site to see how our work can have a positive impact on people's lives - but also to learn about the challenges the farmers face.
Ivan is part of our NGO project and feels the danger first hand: "We are increasingly running out of water and the region is becoming drier and drier" "My neighbours and I are very concerned about the future of our sons", says Ivan. "Deforestation threatens our region. The water quality is deteriorating and the environment is becoming dry. Therefore, we are very grateful for the support of IPAM, Iniciativa Verde and The Rainforest Company". With our help, he learns more about sustainable forestry.
"The rainforest is everything to me. It gives me and my family fresh air and makes a better life possible," says our NGO farmer Mathias. He lives with his small family and his animals near Altamira, a community in the Brazilian state of Pará: "At first I didn't know how to grow seedlings properly. During the project, experts showed me how to do it. In the meantime I planted 500 acai and about 1000 cocoa seedlings and was able to expand my business in a sustainable way. Thanks to our project with IPAM and Iniciativa Verde, he receives technical assistance, "I have never received any support from the government," he says today: "My job is very important - and not only from a financial point of view. By taking care of nature and the environment, I am also a role model for my neighbors."
"With the help of the project I was able to expand my business by 100 percent," says Abrao.
"Our situation has improved significantly. We have jobs, we are free. I want all my daughters to go to school," says Abrao. “Even the situation of women has improved. Abrao's wife even plans to get a driver's license - to be even more independent.