The Field Guide to Nature Needs Half: NGOs aren’t the only ones working to save the Amazon

The Field Guide to Nature Needs Half: NGOs aren’t the only ones working to save the Amazon

Photo © Antonio Briceño

Click here to find the previous installment of the Nature Needs Half Field Guide to the Kayapo Project.

This is the fifth installment of a five-part series featuring a partner project in the Nature Needs Half Network. Each installment will run weekly, and every month we will spotlight a different member of the Network to reveal how their work is connecting nature across the planet for the benefit of all life on Earth and to ensure that we achieve our goal of 50% protected by 2050.

For more information about this project, please contact

Summary: 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. 

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

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.

Kayapo man fishing for the day’s food. They rely on a healthy forest and ecosystem to provide for them. Photo by Martin Schoeller.

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 (Dark Green Area = healthy rainforest, Brown Area = deforested land). Picture provided by Barbara Zimmerman, Kayapo Project.

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.

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

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.

The Kayapo Project remains effective because of the generous support of its partners and sponsors including:

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 the image below with your networks on social media. Thank you!

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