Gala in London Plants a Million Trees in the Amazon
How the wealthy British Society has been participating in climate change awareness and the restoration of the Brazilian Forest
“If we act together, I believe it that it’s not too late” said renowned photographer Sebastiao Salgado in a private presentation in London, while speaking on his reforestation project taking place in a degraded area in the state of Minas Gerais through Instituto Terra, which he founded with his wife Leila Deluiz. In addition to presenting the amazing restoration work, the prestigious artist moved the audience by sharing photos, stories and lessons learned from the years he travelled and lived in the Amazon to photograph his latest work. This conversation, accompanied by a breakfast with fruits and açaí, was part of the Annabel's for the Amazon program, an initiative to celebrate the month of the rainforest and bring up the climate discussion to engage the participation of English high society in impact projects.
The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world and its destruction threatens not only the extinction of its rich biodiversity, but of human existence. With record deforestation rates, it is essential that initiatives promote information and mobilization actions. This is one of the goals of The Caring Family Foundation (TCFF), an organization that is part of the same group as the Annabel's club, both led by the Brazilian Patrícia Caring. She shares: "As a Brazilian, I feel passionately that we must do everything we can to stop the destruction that is happening before our eyes. The damage being done to the rainforest is not just a problem for Brazilians, it is a devastating impact. I feel that if, through our program of activities at Annabel's, we can raise awareness and funding that will help protect and restore this precious natural resource, it will have been worth it. We know from the response of our members that they support these efforts, which is very encouraging to all of us at TCFF."
The Annabel’s for the Amazon program was not only created to directly contribute to the replanting of the rainforest, but also to emphasize the connection between the climate crisis and deforestation. It marks an ambitious commitment by The Caring Family Foundation to making positive change in the Amazon rainforest, as through annual fundraising efforts and Amazon Month activities, the foundation, together with SOS Amazônia, aim to plant one million trees by 2024, in addition to the one million trees planted in 2022 from their previous partnership with One Tree Planted.
The destruction of the forest is also linked to the fashion industry, which is one of the most polluting on the planet. For this reason, one of the activities of the program was the panel on how fashion can contribute to a more sustainable future. A recent survey by Stand.Earth showed that more than 100 well-known footwear brands globally buy leather from illegally deforested areas of the Brazilian Amazon. Likewise, the origin of metals and gold can be quite nebulous, being linked to the mining of indigenous lands that should be protected by law. Therefore, consumer questioning about the origin and transparency of fashion products is essential to contribute to change. This was one of the most striking topics of the panel, generating discussion and public participation.
The importance of healthy soil for the good of society was highlighted in the speech of the British model and activist Arizona Muse, who has been carrying out biodynamic agriculture projects. Alexis Maule, representing the Reformation brand, brought up the importance of corporate responsibility and the conversation was brilliantly mediated by renowned writer and Vogue columnist Dana Thomas.
The highlight was the fundraising ball. With dinner, dancing, decoration, music and elegance, the party was attended by members and guests of the club. The annual event brings together international guests and environmentalists in a philanthropic action to help protect the Amazon rainforest. The program that filled the month was inspired by a fundraising dinner held at the Club in 2020, which leveraged significant resources by members and The Caring Family Foundation. This year, the amount collected corresponds to the direct planting of one million trees
The Caring Family Foundation, was founded by Richard and Patricia Caring in 2019, it develops and funds projects in the UK and Brazil. The Foundation focuses on three areas of impact: environmental reforestation, child hunger and domestic abuse. This year, TCFF is working closely with SOS Amazônia to restore degraded areas and recover river sources, bringing economic benefits to over 400 local families as well as indigenous communities. Together with the families, they decide which trees to plant, choosing species that will produce fruits that can be used for food consumption or sold in local markets, as well as species that can support the local economy, such as cocoa and rubber, enabling families to stay in the area, with guaranteed income and thus building more sustainable communities.
“TCFF's vision is a world free from hunger, harm and heartache, where women and children can thrive. Our mission is to ensure that every child has access to a nutritious meal and that every woman is free to make her own choices without violence. Finally, we are committed to doing everything possible to ensure that rainforest communities can flourish alongside nature as deforestation is reversed.Trees provide food to sustain families for the long term, helping to restore degraded areas. For us at TCFF, this project represents a cycle of prosperity and brings together all the elements of the Foundation's mission. As we're halfway through planting two million trees by March 2024, we couldn't be more proud of the work we're doing," says Patricia.
During the entire month of September, the facade of Annabel's club was covered by realistic art that refers to the forest with plants and animals, such as the five large jaguars represented that reinforce the message of the existence of endangered animals. The action was carried out in partnership with The Lost Explorer Mezcal, which to contribute to the campaign, launched an exclusive bottle of Mezcal, limited edition, sold at specific points in London and donating the proceeds directly to the project. Contemporary artist Dominic Harris also participated in the project creating a digital installation, UNSEEN, an interactive portrait of butterflies imagined by him, which raises questions about species that disappear before they are even catalogued.
Creating tools that articulate the arrival of international resources to the Amazon is a very important strategy to unite British society with the cause. As Sebastião Salgado said, it is through union that transformation will be possible, and when it comes to union, we need everyone, including those who seem to be further away. The life of the forest is linked to all human existence on this planet, therefore, fighting for the forest standing is to fight for our own life and that of everyone around us.
"The health of our planet is a shared responsibility and everyone can do their part. Big or small, the changes we make today will help reshape our future for the better and will have a lasting impact on younger generations. be done, but I am proud to be part of an essential movement that generates change, helps the Earth to flourish and communities to thrive. This can only be achieved when we work and take care of our world together", concludes Patrícia.