Keeping the protectors of the forest safe and healthy is the first step in fighting the other global threats we must tackle next.
Earth Day was launched 50 years ago to raise awareness about the United States’ polluted and dying earth, air, and water. This led to landmark action, including the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Act.
Rainforest Foundation was founded twenty years after the first Earth Day to draw the world’s attention to the existential threats facing indigenous peoples and the Amazonian rainforest that they, and we, depend on. This led to global action that significantly improved (for a while at least) rainforest protection and the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples.
Although the quality of the earth, air, and water has improved in certain emerging and affluent countries, things have gotten much worse for a vast number of people across the planet. In fact, indigenous leaders and environmental defenders are under unprecedented attack around the world, especially in Central and South America.
What type of world emerges after the COVID-19 pandemic is up to us.
One thing the pandemic has taught us is that, if we can come together to “bend the curve” of infections and death, there is no reason we cannot also come together to alter other global, invisible, existential threats, like the climate crisis, rainforest destruction, massive species extinction, and widespread social inequality.
Two actions we know that can significantly reduce these threats is to accelerate rainforest protection and restore degraded lands. Recognizing and respecting the ancestral role that indigenous peoples play in protecting the forest that we all depend on is a critical step towards solving these threats.
On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, our immediate priority at Rainforest Foundation US is to help protect indigenous peoples and other forest-dwelling communities from the coronavirus pandemic. To this end, we are collaborating with our indigenous partners at the local, regional and international level to understand their evolving needs and leverage our skills, resources and networks to serve their needs as best we can. This is why last week we launched an emergency fundraising campaign that will allow for the purchase of food, medicine, fuel, and Covid-fighting personal protective equipment for our indigenous partners on the ground. Keeping the protectors of the forest safe and healthy is the first step in fighting the other global threats we must tackle next.
If you can, we encourage you to consider donating to this urgent COVID-19 fund.
Thank you for supporting Rainforest Foundation US and our indigenous partners on the ground.
And thank you for prioritizing rainforest protection as the strategy for a vibrant future.
— Rainforest Foundation US
The Amazon rainforest is also an enormous carbon sink—an area that draws down carbon from the atmosphere. It also pumps huge quantities of water into the air through a process called transpiration. Enough moisture rises out of the Amazon to supply vast “flying rivers” and about half of the rain that falls back down on the region. (Courtesy NASA)