With the help of local experts, Ze Galinha is now replanting the rainforest – and helping to undo some of the damage that has been done. This is the kind of work your donation makes possible, all over the world.
Ze Galinha stands at the foot of the tree, looking up. The specially made spurs he wears glisten in the afternoon sun.
“It’s very dangerous to do this, but I don’t mind,” he says as he steps forward and wraps an arm around the tree that he planted and cares for. “It could be raining and the trunk could be wet, and I’d still be ok. Look at this.”
Using the spurs for grip, he shimmies up the trunk in a matter of seconds, as easily as if climbing a ladder.
“This year I already found a snake up the top of a tree trying to get an egg from a bird’s nest,” he shouts down. “But I have never fallen off!”
He picks a piece of fruit and descends, apparently effortlessly.
“I planted everything here,” he says, showing off the fruit. “It is very hard work. Look, I have grey hair already! It makes your hair go grey doing this work. But I’m used to it.”
Zé Galinha lives in the Brazilian Amazon. He is Ivanilde’s neighbour – like her, he lives in the same small area of protected rainforest. And, like her, he is doing everything in his power to ensure that it stays protected.
Your donation is supporting the people most impacted by the climate crisis. Ordinary people giving their all to protect our world.
But it wasn’t always this way. In his younger days, after struggling to make a living as a farm worker, Zé Galinha made his living however he could – even taking jobs in industries that damage the rainforest. Like many in the region, Zé Galinha felt he had little choice but to take whatever work he could find. He had to earn a living, after all. But even then, he felt sadness at the environmental destruction he witnessed.
“When I worked in the mine and the sawmill I saw on the TV them cutting trees down. I thought ‘Ah, it is bad, it is bad,’” he sighs. “Instead of just cutting down one tree, you are cutting down all the trees around the area. It’s not good.”
He straightens up, and looks around at the lush green rainforest. He has been working on this plot of land for more than a decade. He planted many of these trees with his own hands. He has personally fought back fires and threats to keep them safe.
“I plant 300 trees a year,” he says. “Some of them, the Brazil nut trees, will take 200 years or more to be fully grown. I plant Brazil nut trees because they were logged and now we are trying to plant them again.”
With the help of local experts from our Church network, Zé Galinha has replanted and rebuilt. This would not be possible without your generous donation.
Zé Galinha walks to a clearing where many of his trees were destroyed by fire. He points to a small green sapling growing up between the cracks of a dead tree stump.
“This tree died in a fire,” he says. “But from it, something has been reborn.”
He stands and looks around.
“This empty field has already been replanted,” he says. “This is a forest of the future.