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A Rainforest Blessing: Indigenous leaders join Re:Green volunteers in Scotland’s rainforest

Indigenous people from the Amazon rainforest performed a sacred blessing ritual at a Scottish rainforest on Sunday 7th November

7th November 2021

Indigenous people from the Amazon rainforest performed a sacred blessing ritual at a Scottish rainforest on Sunday 7th November. Led by Raleigh International with support from Woodland Trust Scotland and Plantlife Scotland, the event aimed to give Association Jiboiana a platform during COP26 and to raise awareness of Scotland’s rainforest.

The group from Association Jiboiana were in Scotland to attend COP26 in Glasgow but made a special trip to Cormonachan Community Woodland in Argyll to visit and bless the rainforest.

Following the 30 minute ritual including dancing, drumming and chanting they met local people, climate activists and young people from Raleigh International’s Re:Green volunteering programme at Lochgoilhead Village Hall.

Léo Landon, Association Jiboiana President, said:

“Our main goal in Glasgow isn’t to speak to presidents and decision-makers as that has not worked in the past. We wish to address hundreds of thousands of world citizens about the role of indigenous peoples in the preservation of nature.

“We truly think indigenous wisdom, ancestral knowledge and cooperation with indigenous communities are paramount to answer the existential crises our industrial societies are facing.

“By listening wholeheartedly and learning consciously from those who have been living in harmony with Nature for thousands of years, we might be able to transform ourselves, cultivate resilience – thus mitigating climate change.

“We are convinced that great changes won’t come from the top but from the grassroots – meaning us, the people, activists, whistleblowers, and simple citizens.”

“It is magical to have an opportunity to help young people reconnect with nature because it gives them the means to shift our way of life and way of thinking. To bring them to this forest gives a strong message that it’s not just the Amazon, but forests all over the world; in France, Congo, Scotland, Siberia, Russia – everywhere, that are precious.”

Ross McKenzie, Head of UK Programmes at Raleigh International, said:

“Our goal is to create a national movement of young people, partner organisations and communities united in taking action towards a greener and fairer society. Through equipping young people with opportunities to engage in nature conservation, we can help protect Scotland’s rainforest and build a generation of young environmental champions vital for our green future.”

Phoebe Hanson, Raleigh International Trustee, spoke about youth leadership in nature conservation:

Together for Scotland’s rainforest

Scotland’s temperate rainforest is as important as tropical rainforest but far less well known. The native woodlands found on our west coast develop a lush undergrowth thanks to high levels of rainfall and relatively mild temperatures. Some of the world’s rarest mosses, liverworts and lichens live here. But Scotland’s rainforest is in trouble. As little as 30,000 hectares remain.

A spokesperson from Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest said:

“If we don’t start taking serious and urgent action to support and protect our rainforest, we face the risk of losing this internationally important habitat completely. The Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest has brought together over 20 partners in a bid to stop that happening.”

A special moment

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