Protecting the land by empowering the people


rff-logoRainforest Foundation US, this quarter’s Natural World beneficiary, is responding to the global issue of deforestation in a truly unique and inspiring way. By making it their mission to protect the rights of the indigenous people who live on the land that is so rapidly being devastated, Rainforest Foundation US is helping to protect the rainforest from further decimation. They “work in partnership with indigenous groups and local grassroots organizations in Central and South America to: secure rights to their lands, influence laws and policies to protect their resources, build strong and sustainable community leadership.” The idea is to protect the indigenous population’s rights to the land, and those populations in turn will protect the pristine land on which they live because, having lived on it for centuries without ruining it, they may have a better understanding of what is needed to live sustainably with the land.

For more than twenty years, Rainforest Foundation US has been integrating human rights and environmentalism into one worthwhile and effective mission. Much of what happens to the indigenous people, whose land is exploited for financial gain, is inhumane. Rainforest Foundation US seeks out those who need representation the most and aid them in their battle for rights to the land that should be rightfully theirs. One of their featured projects is the continued support of the Quechua Federation of the Upper Pastaza, seeing that their ancestral land and the ecosystem it sustains are rectified after more than 40 years of oil-related damage. The companies that have made billions of dollars from pumping the oil that lies underneath the Quechua land have left the land unfit for humans and other creatures alike. Rainforest Foundation US aims to help the Quechua people by providing them with the legal assistance, leadership training, and environmental monitoring needed to create change.

By empowering indigenous people and giving them back their decision-making rights to do what is best for their land, Rainforest Foundation US is upholding both human rights and environmentalism, thus supporting two of Foundation Beyond Belief’s humanist giving objectives.