Brazil with Michael Palin
‘Brazil with Michael Palin’ on the BBC this week put under the spotlight some of the key issues that RFUK’s partners in Peru and the Congo Basin tackle every day on behalf of indigenous forest people.
Western influences mean that commodity mining and mass-logging will always be a threat to indigenous tribes such as Brazil’s Yanomami and the Wauja which feature in this programme.
Lack of consultation has meant that the Yanomami’s views have not been taken into consideration on how the land they have lived on for centuries is used, an example of how the rights of indigenous rainforest people are often disrespected. Planned projects in the Amazon rainforest, such as the construction of the Belo Monte dam in Brazil and the Pakitzapango hydroelectric dam in Peru are resulting in the destruction of people’s livelihoods and the areas’ ecology - a factor which will one day impact us all. The right of indigenous peoples to consultation is something that is fundamental for forest peoples and is central to the work of the Rainforest Foundation UK.
The Wauja tribe in Brazil has chosen to use the Western influence of technology such as video cameras and mobile phones to track and record their way of life, aware that their knowledge of the rainforest and its natural resources is ultimately the most vital source of protection against climate change for us all. In a similar way, RFUK is implementing a large scale programme in the Congo Basin which allows communities to map their land and livelihood activities - a method which is proving to be a vital tool in allowing their views to be considered when national governments make decisions on how land is used.