I’m writing this to share with you part of my struggle to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place, starting with preserving the forest where my people live, and improving their well-being. During the last few decades we implemented a series of initiatives, including the formulation of a 50-year Paiter/Suruí plan ** in which we establish, as a community, what we want to accomplish and where we want to be in the next half a century. Using this plan, and with the support of our long-time partner—Kaninde – Associação de Defesa Etnoambiental— we already executed an ethno-environmental study of our territory. And, with the support of ACT —the Amazon Conservation Team— we mapped out our territory based on our traditional vision.
During these last years we have also strengthened the Metareilá Association of the Suruí Indigenous People (Associação Metareilá do Povo Indígena Suruí), which currently coordinates all management activities related to our lands and culture. In 2007 we began developing a carbon-focused project — Surui Carbon Project — based on our reforestation program, of which Associação Aquaverde has been a long-time supporter. During the months of December, January and February we planted 45,000 saplings of açai, mahogany, cherry, pupunha, copaiba, cocoa and jatoba trees.
Saving the ancient forest that is still standing in much of our lands is also important. Today we also have partnerships with IDESAM for the development of a carbon project of deforestation that was prevented, and with FUNBIO, for building a financial management tool for our 50-year management plan. In 2007 I traveled to California where we started a partnership with Google Earth Outreach to help the Suruí people tell the world about their work by using the web.
The Surui Carbon Project provides us an opportunity for managing our lands, which hopefully will ensure the sustainable use of the forest and the survival of our culture, and also will create an opportunity for recognizing indigenous people’s knowledge of the forest and for allowing them to contribute to a sustainable and equitable development. This project also involves discussions on how to help solve global problems such as climate change by enabling the creation of a green economy based on sustainability and social justice. In these discussions we asked for support from an institution called Forest Trends.
The Surui Carbon Project also provides a means for supporting the implementation of civil rights policies and creating a “green” awareness and interconnection among all peoples of the world.
– Chief Almir Surui