When Sting and Trudie Styler first met Chief Raoni Mentuktire, a leader of Brazilís Kayapo Indians, he talked about his dream to save his people and their land from being devastated. As a result of this meeting, Sting and Trudie founded the Rainforest Foundation in 1988. After five years of work, the Menkragnoti Territory in the Amazon, an area the size of Switzerland (17,000 square miles), was finally granted full legal protection.
Since its creation, The Rainforest Foundation has worked in partnership with indigenous communities throughout Brazil to develop such projects as education, border protection, and medical programs. Each project helps those who have lived in the rainforests since time immemorial in their efforts to protect their environment and fulfill their rights by assisting them in:
Securing and controlling the natural resources necessary for their long-term well-being, and managing these resources in ways that do not harm their environment, violate their culture, or compromise their future.
Developing the means to protect their individual and collective rights and obtain, shape, and control basic state services.
There is no simple short-term solution to the problems facing the indigenous rainforest cultures. In Brazil alone, there are 500 indigenous territories, of which more than half still need to be protected; 30% have been entered by gold miners, 40% are threatened by hydroelectric projects, and 50% are crossed by roads that facilitate the disruption of indigenous territories.
Building on our past successes, we will expand our work outside Brazil to identify and cooperate in strategic alliances with organizations that share our objectives. It is our goal to ensure that governments meet their obligations by launching programs and projects that give indigenous peoples a realistic opportunity to recover and defend their resources.
Sting and Trudie have fulfilled their original promise to Chief Raoni Mentuktire with the successful demarcation of Menkragnoti, but with each new gain we are faced with new challenges. The Rainforest Foundation is now a worldwide alliance, with offices in Brasilia, London, New York, and Oslo. We continue to spread global awareness of the issues, increase political pressure to halt this senseless destruction, and inspire participation of individuals to help protect the rainforest and its peoples.