Kayapo: Part 5

NGOs aren't the only ones working to save the Amazon; corporate partners, including Flashbay, have joined forces with the Kayapo to help save the rainforests.

Kayapo fisherman. Photo by Antonio Briceño

Our Flashbay Family is passionate about helping to conserve the most valuable natural habitat on our planet:

the Amazon.

For the past fifteen years, Flashbay has been an environmentally minded company that specializes in manufacturing custom-brand promotional technology products. Now, they are taking on a new project. Hear from them about why they have chosen to help save one of the world's last truly wild places: the Amazon rain forest. 

After very careful analysis of a multitude of non-governmental initiatives on conservation in this part of the world, the WILD Foundation's approach stood out as the most common-sense based strategy. It recognizes the irrefutable connection between the forest and its indigenous inhabitants. In other words, long-term rainforest conservation can only be realistically sustained when taking a holistic view, incorporating the survival of rainforest habitat with direct support for its tribal people, at least wherever they still live.

The Brazilian Constitution of 1988 effectively recognized indigenous people's rights to practice their customs without pressure or outside interference to assimilate or integrate into mainstream Brazilian society. Article 231 also defines Indians' rights to their lands, and outlines FUNAI's (the governmental agency for protection of indigenous cultures) responsibility to demarcate those lands. The article also specifies that mining and other energy resources on indigenous lands is only allowed with the approval of Congress, and after taking into account the Indigenous populations' input. Arguably, these were remarkably wise constitutional amendments after decades of total failure of 'pacification' of the Indian populations.

Map of Kayapo land deforestation. Picture provided by Barbara Zimmerman.

However, unfortunately, the reality on the ground for the Kayapo and other indigenous tribes has been very different. Effectively, for many decades’ large scale intrusion has continued at pace with illegal logging, mining and cattle farming pressure - all of which has led to a continued encroachment on these constitutionally protected areas. An almost total absence of government presence and police enforcement has continued to leave indigenous populations and their habitats under substantial pressure.

Recently, the rate of deforestation, illegal mining incursions as well as illegal logging have risen dramatically. This has been worsened by continuing structural weaknesses in the Brazilian economy including widespread unemployment and income disparities. Widespread corruption continues to blight any credible government efforts whether nationally or internationally to stem the flow of illegally logged wood or stop these illegal land grabs.

Finally, we here at Flashbay feel privileged to contribute to the WILD Foundation's initiative with a long-term vision, and hope to help raise awareness of this very critical global issue.

(Logging on the Kayapo territory. Photo provided by Barbara Zimmerman.)


You Can Help

Your help bringing greater awareness to the efforts of the Indigenous peoples who are defending the rainforests for the benefit of all life on Earth is essential. Please consider sharing this infographic with your networks on social media. Thank you!

The Kayapo Project remains effective because of the generous support of: