Protect the Amazon Rainforest and its Guardians

by Business for Better Society
Protect the Amazon Rainforest and its Guardians
Protect the Amazon Rainforest and its Guardians
Protect the Amazon Rainforest and its Guardians
Protect the Amazon Rainforest and its Guardians
Protect the Amazon Rainforest and its Guardians
Protect the Amazon Rainforest and its Guardians
Protect the Amazon Rainforest and its Guardians
Protect the Amazon Rainforest and its Guardians
Protect the Amazon Rainforest and its Guardians
Protect the Amazon Rainforest and its Guardians
Protect the Amazon Rainforest and its Guardians
Protect the Amazon Rainforest and its Guardians
Ms. Cousteau at Musee oceanographique de Monaco
Ms. Cousteau at Musee oceanographique de Monaco

In this update we wish to share a few of the actions and updates for the Javari Project, which continues to be spearheaded by Ms. Céline Cousteau.

Education is central and the next step in this pillar, which was introduced in our last update, was the partnership with the College of William & Mary’s Institute for Integrative Conservation to create a program inspired by the documentary "Tribes on the Edge".  The launch date for this program is set for early 2022 and its' designed for ages 9 through 12, which reflects the high percentage of student grades that participated in earlier sessions of the Tribes on the Edge education program which where 48% in Grades 3 to 5 and 28% in Grades 6 to 8. 

The Javari Project has grown up! It is now a separate formal entity with completion of its non-profit registration process in The Netherlands and is a “for purpose organisation created to support the Indigenous People of the Vale do Javari”. Collaboration will continue to be a core principle at The Javari Project as it will work side-by-side other NGO’s and the Indigenous leaders from the Vale do Javari to create tangible actions to support their livelihoods and well-being.  It has been incredible to see how this initiative has evolved to where it is today and that is because of the support of donors around the world.

While in-person visits into this fragile part of the world remains prohibitive, one of the key priorities for Ms. Cousteau is to share with as broad an audience as possible what is happening in the Amazon, status of the Indigenous tribes and the implications for the rest of the world.  Over the last few months there have been multiple print interviews such as the one in Elle Argentina, in-person event at Musée océanographique de Monaco and on-line participation as a speaker at conferences including Amazonia Rising.

For Céline storytelling remains a priority.  It allows her to share with others how the health crises, legal challenges and environmental degradation in the Brazilian Amazon are not only threatening the survival of Indigenous communities, but the protection of vital ecosystems that ensure our planet's resilience to climate change.

In a year that has been characterised by extreme environmental events, we are grateful for all of the support to The Javari Project and protecting this vital part of our earth and the people that call it home.

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Pre COVID photo of Ms. Cousteau in the Amazon
Pre COVID photo of Ms. Cousteau in the Amazon

As many of you may know, this project is led by world renowned environmentalist and filmmaker Ms. Céline Cousteau and we are pleased to share in this report the achievements made around two strategic objectives.

One of the key pillars for the Javari Impact Campaign that we introduced in our last update is education not only in the Vale do Javari but globally.  An important step forward with this pillar occurred earlier this year when Tribes on the Edge partnered with The College of William and Mary's Institute for Integrative Conservation (IIC) to create an educational curriculum inspired and informed by the film.

The curriculum is founded on project-based learning, visual storytelling, empathy to bridge cultural and learning gaps and deepening students' understanding of the interconnectedness of people and the environment.  One of the other key curriculum characteristics is that it is adaptable to different school grades and relevant to all age groups.

As part of this partnership on April 20 Ms. Cousteau will participate in William & Mary's Sustainability Symposium Event: Understanding our Interconnectedness. Here she will discuss her collaboration with Beto of the Marúbo tribe to share the story of the Indigenous communities of the Vale do Javari region of the Brazilian Amazon. Céline will share how she is using storytelling to document how health crises, human rights issues, and environmental degradation in the Brazilian Amazon are not only threatening the survival of Indigenous communities, but also the protection of the irreplaceable ecosystems that ensure our planet's resilience to climate change.

A second key milestone was achieved on February 2 when Tribes on the Edge was released on streaming platforms in the U.S. with the distributor Gravitas Ventures. Having the film available through iTunesAmazon, and other VOD platforms we believe will support awareness building to the current situation of the indigendous tribes in the Vale do Javari region and what it means for all of us.

As a final note, please know that the April 20th on-line event is open to the public to attend and you can learn more about the program and how to register by clicking here.

We are truly grateful for the continued support we receive for this project and we want to again say thank you for all of the encouragement.

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Village in the Vale do Javari
Village in the Vale do Javari

As of November 25 Brazil was fully reopened to tourism and the country had officially removed all Corona virus related restrictions.  However, to protect the Indigenous People of Vale do Javari travel into this region will need to wait until 2021.

In our last update, we shared about the creation of the Javari Project, lead by Céline Cousteau, which grew out of her documentary Tribes on the Edge. One of the key pillars of action in the Javari Project is now more clearly defined under the headline "Alternative Livelihoods". Following consultations with local Indigenous leaders, and guided by the wishes and needs of the community, the Alternative Livelihoods pillar will structure and implement the following actions in 2021 and beyond:

  1. Cultural Workshops;
  2. Self-Economic Determination;
  3. Community Outreach.

Any of the actions taken as part of the Javari Project will be done only after consultation and agreement by the local leaders and Javari communities at large. In a recent interview Ms. Cousteau shared that "at the Javari Project, we’re not saying that we think the future of the Javari should look a certain way – we want to help its people preserve their cultures and achieve the future they’re looking to build."

Provided with this update is a link to her December 17 interview with Forest Trends entitled "The Long View: A Conversation with Céline Cousteau".

When the return to the Vale do Javari is finally possible in the new year, implementation of the three actions will begin as well as further planning for the other key priorities of the Javari Project.  While COVID-19 has been a set back in-terms of timing for implementation of the work and delivery of key supplies, as Céline shared in her interview, " [we're] here for a marathon....change is going to take a really long time, and we need to pace ourselves".

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Beto Marubo and the COVID response team
Beto Marubo and the COVID response team

Over the past few months a tremendous amount has been written about the COVID crisis and the impact of the pandemic in the Amazon region of Brazil. Sadly, Covid-19 has now reached the Vale do Javari.   

Céline Cousteau's documentary film, Tribes on the Edge, was the catalyst for the impact campaign which has grown into The Javari Project (TJP) and the land mapping drones and her documentary are now a component of this much larger project.  While TJP is not focused on rapid response relief but rather long-term impact, TJP has supported the work of organizations bringing relief to indigenous communities in the territory via the social media outreach by request of Beto Marúbo.

Beto Marúbo continues to be a spokesperson for the indigenous people and was featured in an August 22 National Geographic article about the close encroachment of the corona virus on the isolated Arrow people.  We are providing the link to this important article as part of this report for anyone that might be interested in reading more on the dangers faced by this uncontacted tribe.

The mapping drones, referenced above, are being utilised by locally trained people for not only environmental monitoring of the Javari region but health monitoring of the tribes. 

We are very pleased to share in this update that Céline has advanced the strategy and partnerships to further strengthen TJP.  TJP now focuses on the livelihood of the Indigenous Peoples of the Vale do Javari by strengthening cultural integrity, creating economic self-determination, and offering media instruction starting in the border town of Atalaia do Norte. Though strategy building can begin, we must wait for a safe time to return to the region to elaborate on this initiative as it requires extensive meetings with the Indigenous Peoples themselves.

As for Céline's documentary, it has been nominated as a finalist for the 2020 Jackson Wild media awards that will be held virtually Thursday October 1 and was awarded the Impact Award by the 2020 Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival.  Our congratulations to Céline!

The images included in this report are courtesy of Beto Marubo. 

Aerial view of a village in the Javari region
Aerial view of a village in the Javari region

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The town of Atalaia-do-Norte
The town of Atalaia-do-Norte

Tribes on the Edge is a documentary film which has served as the catalyst for The Javari Project, a multifaceted impact campaign created by Céline Cousteau, a filmmaker activist and supported by Business for Better Society.

As part of the campaign, Céline and a core team traveled to the Brazilian Amazon in November 2019, returning to the town of Atalaia-do-Norte bordering the indigenous territory of Vale do Javari.

While there they:

  • Screened the Tribes on the Edge documentary for the first time to the indigenous community members as well as the Atalaia-do-Norte community and schools 
  • Met with local and indigenous leaders to discuss, assess and strategize the implementation of the Javari Project.
  • Brought two DJI Mavic Pro drones to train and donate to the FUNAI government staff to use for low flying short range surveillance of illegal activities. 

The donations received by Business for Better Society from the a film screening in Victoria, BC and through GlobalGiving, went into the purchase of the drones that were delivered in November 2019.

What is the DJI Mavic Pro drone?

The Mavic Pro is a small drone that can fold down to the size of a bottle of water.  It has a tremendous number of advanced innovations such as 3 active tracking modes, better hovering precision, advanced 3D collision avoidance technology, gesture guidance, intelligent flight modes, including variant ground level flying and much more.

The camera is stabilized by a gimbal system of 3-axis mechanical components, which keeps the camera steady for smooth videos and clear photos, paired with the incredible camera. The shutter speed is 8s-1/8000s with an image maximum size of 4000 x 3000 total.

Next Phase in The Javari Project

Next phase of this project starts with a fundraising campaign and a goal to reach US$125,000.

The objective of this phase is to support the livelihood and well-being of the Indigenous Peoples of the Vale do Javari through leadership, education, and vocational training programs in collaboration with Cultural Sanctuaries Foundation. 

This project phase will be broken into three components.  First, we will improve and enhance the usefulness and use of the Javari Indigenous cultural centre in the border town of Atalaia-do-Norte. Secondly, the renovated Javari Indigenous cultural center will be used for cultural, linguistic and vocational workshops curated in consultation with and guided by the wishes and needs of the community. Third, we will focus on creating an outreach program that will provide isolated communities in the Javari with access to the information shared at cultural workshops. 

COVID-19 Update

On Friday, April 17, 2020 an important milestone was reached when a Brazilian judge banned a group of Christian missionaries from entering a vast Amazon indigenous reserve with the world’s highest concentration of isolated tribes, citing risks from the coronavirus pandemic as one of his reasons.

Indigenous leaders and activists hailed the decision as “historic” and expressed hope that it should help protect the tribes in  the Javari valley.

The judge in his ruling, referred to articles and data about isolated groups’ vulnerability to common diseases that decimated their populations in the past and authorised police and army to expel any of the missionaries found in the reserve. 

To date, Brazil has so far seen three confirmed Covid-19 deaths among its indigenous population. Brazil’s indigenous populations are particularly vulnerable because most indigenous communities lack drinkable running water, and live days-long journeys away from even poorly equipped hospitals.

Members of the Tribe Met in November, 2019
Members of the Tribe Met in November, 2019
Children in the town of Atalaia-do-Norte
Children in the town of Atalaia-do-Norte

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Organization Information

Business for Better Society

Location: Hong Kong - Hong Kong SAR
Website:
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Project Leader:
Kelly Brantner
Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
$1,992 raised of $10,000 goal
 
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$8,008 to go
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