Rock in Rio launched the Amazonia Live Social Project for all editions of the festival until 2019. A major mobilization campaign was presented to encourage the population to get behind the cause, under the motto “More than Trees, Let’s Plant Hope”. The gathering was attended by performers, opinion makers and partners.
According to the Amazonian Network of Georeferenced Socioenvironmental Information (Raisg), between 1500 and 1977, around 4.7% of the Amazon was deforested. Over the last 36 years, this figure has risen to 18%. According to RAISG, by 2013 Brazil had lost 632,00 km2 of forest. Deforestation affects the climate and rainfall and directly impacts those who live both near and far away from the forest. And what does this have to do with Rock in Rio? Everything.
To Rock in Rio music is a universal language that unites people around the world and an important platform for social and environmental causes. The festival’s pillar of sustainability – For a Better World – was created in 2001 and has already benefitted thousands of people in Brazil, Portugal, Spain, the United States and a number of other countries. Investments come from ticket sales and initiatives organized alongside partner organizations. Now, the festival’s organizers have launched a global movement to help forest restoration in the Amazon with the primary objective of raising awareness about the conscious consumption of the planet’s resources and calling for the public to become active agents in tackling climate change by altering their own behavior.
Home to the world’s most important biodiversity reserve, the Amazon plays a vital role in reducing global warming. The initiative will restore deforested areas at the sources of the Xingu River.
“This marks the first time we have adopted the same cause on a global scale, which will be promoted in every country that hosts Rock in Rio and continue through various editions of the event. We have pledged to plant one million trees and, with the help of partner brands and fans of the festival, we hope to reach around 3 million new trees in the region. This initiative will draw global attention to an urgent problem and show that it is possible to plant, above all, hope. To demonstrate how important this is, according to data from the ISA (Brazilian Socioenvironmental Institute), a forest of 3 million trees transpires around 48 million liters of water a day. Another important detail worthy of attention is that the Amazon Rainforest holds around 20% of the planet’s fresh water and this must not be lost”, explains Roberto Medina, president of Rock in Rio.
The idea for the initiative emerged in 2015, when the Rock in Rio team was approached by the Manaus City Council. “The mayor of Manaus, Arthur Virgílio Neto, challenged us to organize an event in the region to draw attention to the forest’s importance in balancing life across the planet. The challenge was in line with the commitment we have made since 2006 to actively contribute to tackling climate change”, explains Medina.
August 27 marks the high point of the project. Rock in Rio will host an unprecedented performance that will showcase the cause. A floating stage will be set up in the Rio Negro river in Manaus (Amazonas state). The show will be streamed live online around the globe and broadcast in Brazil on the Multishow channel. Only 200 people, including opinion makers and journalists, will be able to watch the show onsite, on a specially designed floating platform. The performance will feature renowned tenor Plácido Domingo, with the Amazonas Philharmonic and Amazonas Choir, as well as tenor Saulo Lucas (*1) singing “Canto Della Terra”. It will be opened by Ivete Sangalo, also accompanied by the orchestra. Also in Manaus on the same date, Ivete will perform at a show open to the public aimed at drawing the population’s attention to socioenvironmental issues. The occasion will also mark the beginning of the one-year countdown to the seventh edition of the festival in Brazil, in 2017.
Rock in Rio will also launch a parallel advertising campaign featuring actor Marcos Palmeira. The message is a warning about the importance of conscious consumption of the planet’s natural resources and a call for everyone to become active agents in tackling climate change by altering their own behavior. The campaign will be carried by all major media outlets and on social media, also inviting people to plant a tree in the Amazon.
More than BRL 28 million will be invested in the initiative, including the planting costs, technical assistance, monitoring and management, media campaigns, production of the show and logistics.
“We want to draw attention to a problem that affects the entire planet, without any exaggeration. This is a huge investment by a private company, despite the economic crisis, aimed at ensuring a direct return for the planet as opposed to an individual cause. And it is not only a financial investment, but a joining of forces with the involvement of celebrities and anonymous individuals for a social and environmental cause”, remarks Roberto Medina, the President of Rock in Rio.
Rock in Rio’s tree-planting initiative has already drawn important partners, including Itaú Bank, Manaus Luz, Manaus Ambiental, the World Bank, Estácio de Sá University, and Gol Airlines. In addition to the festival’s guarantee of planting a million trees, the partners have already committed to raising this number to 2.1 million.
The partnership between Rock in Rio and Estácio de Sá University began in 2011 and has grown stronger over the years. According to Claudia Romano, Estácio’s director of social responsibility and partnerships, the university will donate 100,000 trees and mobilize 500,000 students and 15,000 employees to do the same. “If everyone plants a tree it will already be a huge achievement. Our mission to educate for transformation is also expressed in the training of conscious and committed professionals and citizens”, explains Claudia.
Manaus Ambiental is committed to nature with causes that encourage respect for and preservation of the environment. “The Amazonia Live project is a global appeal for everyone to take responsibility for nature. The company will use the means available to it, such as water bills, to spread the message that guides this initiative: our acts determine the continuity of the Amazon in all its splendor”, remarks Sergio Braga, the CEO of Manaus Ambiental.
According to Medina, “we are building a partnership with the World Bank under the Amazon Region Protected Areas Program (ARPA), whereby at least 1 million trees will be planted in protected areas of the Amazon Rainforest”.
For this project, Rock in Rio joined forces with a team of major institutions to guarantee the best result. The partnership involves the Brazilian Fund for Biodiversity Conservation (FUNBIO) and the Biodiversity Institute (ISA) and aims to contribute to forest restoration, the recovery of springs and native bush on the margins of rivers and generating income with the participation and inclusion of local communities.
The tree-planting initiative will use seeds mixed together in a technique called ‘muvuca’, selected and enhanced by the Socioenvironmental Institute (ISA) to mimic the natural process of the forest. The technique uses a no-till approach and the experience of tree planters from the Xingu-Araguaia group, which proved that planting seeds directly into the ground in their definitive location is the best method for most types of trees. In the first three years after planting, news and technical reports will be published on the status of the trees and recovered forest, ensuring transparency and proper monitoring for those who believed in the idea.
“The best solutions are those created in partnership within a network. This learning curve comes from the experience of our major partner, the Xingu Seed Network. The ISA and more than 420 seed collectors are excited about the challenge of planting a million trees in the heart of Brazil, but also very committed to highlighting the risks that the Amazon is currently facing and people’s role in social and environmental issues”, explains Rodrigo Junqueira from the ISA. According to Junqueira, the Amazon is responsible for global climate control and removing man-made pollution from the atmosphere. “Without it the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere would fall solely to the oceans, increasing the Earth’s temperature and putting the lives of different animal species at risk”, he points out.
The Amazon Rainforest: the greatest biodiversity on the planet
According to RAISG, the Amazon covers around 6 million square kilometers in nine South American countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela. It is the largest biome in Brazil, where it stretches over 4.1 million square kilometers (IBGE,2004) that are home to 2500 tree species, corresponding to one third of all the world’s tropical wood.
The Brazilian Amazon alone is home to around 30,000 plant species (of the 100,000 in South America), 1,800 fish species, 399 mammal, 1,300 bird, 284 reptile and 250 amphibian species. The biome also contains the world’s largest drainage basin, which covers around 6 million km2 and has 1100 tributaries. The Amazon River, the largest in the region, releases approximately 175 million liters of water into the Atlantic Ocean every second. According to the RAISG Atlas, the Amazon covers 58.8% of Brazil, distributed across the states of Amazonas (AM), Mato Grosso (MT), Acre (AC), Rondônia (RO), Roraima (RR), part of Tocantins (TO) and part of Maranhão (MA).
Deforestation in the Amazon affects the3 lives of the global population
The Amazon, known as the ‘lungs of the world’, plays a vital role in the global carbon cycle that helps shape the world's climate. Around 200 billion tons of carbon is stored in tropical vegetation around the globe, of which an estimated 70% is in the Amazon. Without the forest, the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere would fall solely to the oceans, increasing the Earth’s temperature and putting the lives of different animal species at risk.
A major global effect of deforestation is, without doubt, the worldwide decline in biodiversity, in addition to its contribution to global warming. Today, one third of the world’s population has no access to clean water. If the global temperature rises to 2.5°C above pre-industrial levels, this figure could double.
Rapid deforestation rates result in the conversion of more carbon into carbon dioxide, either when trees are burned or through the decomposition of unburned wood. It is estimated that, over the next four years, the destruction of the world’s tropical forests alone could release more carbon into the atmosphere than every flight from the birth of aviation to 2025. Brazil, for example, is among the five largest greenhouse gas-emitting nations, not because of high fossil fuel emissions, but rather due to deforestation.
Climate change has been causing more risks than ever in terms of water crises, food scarcity, restricted economic growth, poor social cohesion and increased safety risks. In addition, since the atmosphere has no borders, it is estimated that around 90% of natural disasters recorded in Europe since 1980 are the direct or indirect result of climate change.
“Forest restoration is a global challenge and planting a million trees at the sources of the Xingu River contributes to biodiversity as well as water quality and volume. Over a 20-year period Funbio has already supported 39% of Brazil’s protected area and, with the support of partner organizations, we hope to have the same impact on forest restoration”, remarks Rosa Lemos, the secretary general of Funbio, which will manage funds for the project.
For a better world: since 2001, Rock in Rio has invested around BRL 70 million in social and environmental projects
- 304,000 trees planted in reforestation projects up to 2016
- 100% compensation for the event’s greenhouse gas emissions
- More than 200 supporting organizations
- More than 56,000 beneficiaries supported every year around the world
- 100 classrooms in underprivileged communities in Rio de Janeiro
- Funding for 28 UNESCO projects
- 1 school in Tanzania
- 1 health care center in Brazil
- 12 sensory classrooms for blind people and youngsters with disabilities
- 760 solar panels installed at 38 schools in Portugal This project won the international Energy Globe Award
- 10 music rooms in Brazilian public schools
- 2,200 instruments donated to 150 Brazilian NGOs
- 40 young people trained as luthier's assistants
- 80 two-year music scholarships
- 15,632 meals and 37,000 sandwiches donated to institutions that support underprivileged families in Portugal and the United States
At every edition, Rock in Rio is committed to implementing:
- ISO 20121 certification – sustainable events
- A sustainability plan for organizers, sponsors and suppliers
- Carbon footprint compensation
- A Comprehensive campaign on sustainable mobility
- A public mobility plan, including unique spaces and access for people with reduced mobility
- Awareness campaigns on best sustainability practices for performers, sponsors, suppliers, the public and communities
- Carbon Zero certificates for the performers, guaranteeing that Rock in Rio offsets its carbon footprint
- A rigorous waste management program to reduce, reuse and recycle as much waste as possible - reaching an average overall recycling rate of 70%
- Donation of recycled materials at the end of each edition
- Donation of suitable leftover food in Portugal and the United States
- An award for sponsors and suppliers with the best sustainability practices at the City of Rock – Rock in Rio Sustainable Attitude
(*1) – Saulo is a visually impaired, autistic performer and an example of how music can transform people’s lives.
About Rock in Rio
Rock in Rio is the largest music and entertainment event in the world. Created in 1985 and spanning 31 years, it is a significant part of global music history. The event has spanned 16 editions, 96 days and 1,498 musical attractions. During that time, more than 8.2 million people have passed through the various Cities of Rock.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Rock in Rio has conquered not only Brazil, but Portugal, Spain and, in 2015, it reached the United States, always with the goal of bringing different styles of music to a varied audience.
Much more than just a music festival, Rock in Rio is also committed to being a responsible and sustainable event. In 2001, through its social project entitled “For a Better World”, the event committed to making people aware that everyday acts are the pathway to making the world a better place for everyone. In 2013 Rock in Rio received ISO 20121 – Sustainable Events certification, recognition of its power to carry out a range of initiatives aimed at building a better word, such as the creation of 173,500 direct jobs over its 16 editions, and more than USD 31 million invested in social and environmental causes and building a positive legacy for the host cities.