"We need to do something different." This is the message that Andrew Rodrigues had for citizens as he participated in IAMovement's #AmazonChallenge event at Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain yesterday. Rodrigues was among a small group at the event which was geared towards bringing awareness to the recent fires in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, as well as the need for better environmental consciousness in TT.
Co-founder of IAMovement Jonathan Barcant said the effort is part of a much larger movement demanding greater action to protect the earth's climate and environment. He said, "It stands in solidarity with the global climate strike which took place on Friday." According to Barcant, the global climate strike saw over six million people around the world demanding protection of the earth's climate and resources.
"This event is also impact oriented where we said if we are going to do this, let's see how we can have an impact," he said. Barcant said the concept of the #AmazonChallenge is for one person to plant a tree and in doing so, nominate three other people to plant a tree.
To ensure they were well equipped, participants were given trees to plant which included pouis, fruits, such as and plum trees, to name a few. Soil was also distributed. With the recent loss of large swaths of rainforest due to intense wildfires, the Amazon challenge is intended to inspire people to plant more trees.
Barcant said took the opportunity to thank the Ministry of Agriculture which donated 100 cocoa trees to distribute at the event.
Also supporting the event, was the World Economic Forum's local Global Shapers hub. On the role the hub will play in supporting the local Amazon challenge, representative Kiran Mohammed said, "We are nominating all the Global Shapers hub in the Caribbean to plant trees." Mohammed said this will result in hundreds of trees being planted across the region. He said the hub has been in discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture which has not only indicated its willingness to provide trees to the hub but also to members of the public interested in planting trees.
Participants were treated to live drumming, free plants, book giveaways and an Amazon booth which contained information about the Amazon region. Local artiste Richard "Solman" Solis, who performed, said, "This event is one piece of the bigger vibe in the world where persons are realising the destruction to the environment." Solis said society must change the attitude towards the environment before it's too late.
He said, "My hope is to have everyone come together in a collective vibe to recognise our impact to the environment and inspire each other to make changes."