By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – After gaining international fame due to his partnership with British music star Sting in the 1990’s, Brazilian indigenous leader Raoni is once again in Europe in search of investors willing to defend the Amazon forest and its peoples from uncontrolled exploitation.
“I am looking for a million euros to finance green walls made of bamboo, to outline the great Xingu Reserve, which has suffered from the permanent intrusion of lumber and exotic animal dealers; miners and hunters, who come to hunt on our lands,” said Raoni in an interview published on Thursday by “Le Parisien”.
The 87-year-old indigenous chief met on Thursday with the French leader, Emmanuel Macron, in Paris. During the hour-and-a-half meeting, Macron told the Brazilian indigenous leader that France supports Raoni’s idea of delineating with a bamboo fence the Xingu Reserve and announced that the European country plans to host a summit of indigenous peoples in 2020.
Macron also noted that the European country is present in the Amazon region because of French Guiana, an overseas French territory in South America.
The French president assured Raoni of France’s support in his struggle to protect the biodiversity and the peoples of the Amazon region from increasing deforestation.
On Friday, May 17th, in Brussels, Belgium, Raoni participated in a student demonstration against climate change. Students from all across the globe have been holding school walkouts every Friday to pressure global leaders to take action against global warming.
Roani is expected to tour several European cities in the next three weeks, speaking to officials and country leaders about the deforestation in the world’s largest tropical rain forest.
The Brazilian indigenous leader is scheduled to go to Rome, where he hopes to meet with Pope Francis. According to local media, Raoni will ask for the Pontiff’s help for the indigenous peoples of the Amazon region.
Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with religious from the region in October, during the Synod of Bishops from the Pan-Amazon Region to talk about the problems of tropical forests.
Data from Imazon, an NGO which monitors deforestation in the Amazon region, released in April, shows that Brazil leads the deforestation of tropical forests in the world, with a 24 percent increase in deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region during the last twelve months.