Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Colin Firth fights for Amazon tribe

About this time last year, I wrote about the problems facing the Amazon rainforest, after reading an article in The Observer. The piece stated that levels of deforestation were falling, but that other problems were rife. Well, the levels may well be falling, but they're not falling fast enough. I've just been contacted by Survival International, which has today launched a video fronted by actor Colin Firth to help support the Awá Indians in Brazil. The video is both beautiful and distressing. It shows a way of life that most of us could never imagine, so different and wonderful it is from how we spend our days. And it's a way of life that nobody has the right to destroy. These tribes were there first, living off the Amazon in the most natural way possible and preserving all that is good about the rainforest. Survival International says the Awá are the Earth's most threatened tribe, as their land continues to be invaded by illegal loggers, ranchers and settlers. Firth is helping Survival International to call on the Brazilian government to support the tribe. He says: "The Awá’s forest is being illegally cut for timber. When the loggers see them, they kill them. Their bows and arrows are no match for guns. And at any other time in history, that’s where it would end. Another people wiped off the face of the earth, forever. But we’re going to make sure the world doesn’t let that happen." Last year, when I wrote about the Amazon, I also admitted that I wasn't sure how I could help. Well, I'm hoping that by getting you to watch this video and support Survival International's plight is a step in the right direction. According to Survival International, there are around 360 contacted Awá. Many are the survivors of brutal massacres. It is believed that 20-25% more are hiding in the rapidly-shrinking forest, desperately seeking a refuge from the constant destruction. The campaign aims to persuade Brazil’s Justice Minister to send in federal police to clear out the loggers, ranchers and settlers, and keep them out.


  1. I read this and am both inspired and frustrated. Inspired that there are people and organisations bringing these injustices to public attention, frustrated at the perceived necessity to recruit a singer/actor/model to front any cause. It's an attitude borrowed from advertising which, I feel, has outlived it's usefulness. In fact, the presence of well-meaning yet unrelated celebrities may be unintentionally trivialising the message and shortening our attention spans (this week the Amazon, next week the Old Vic!). I'd be happier to listen to the case made by an environmentalist on the front-line than Mr Firth.

    1. That's a really interesting comment, which I've alerted Survival International to. They've said: "Colin Firth is a long-standing supporter of Survival and tribal peoples, and is amongst our most widely-recognized supporters internationally. It is important that the message is spread as widely as possible and Colin Firth helps us get the Awá noticed on the world stage."