Soka Institute to Plant One Amazonian Tree for Each Brazilian COVID-19 Victim
Manaus, Brazil, and Tokyo, Japan, Sep 25, 2020: On September 21, National Day of the Tree in Brazil, responding to the tragic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Soka Institute of the Amazon near Manaus launched an initiative to plant one tree in honor of each Brazilian victim of COVID-19. More than 100,000 trees will be planted over a four-year period. This “Life Memorial” project is supported by Fundacao Rede Amazonica, charitable arm of the main TV station in Amazonas State.
The location for the first 15 symbolic plantings was the SESI Workers’ Club in Manaus. Native species such as cedar, rosewood, peroba, and ipe amarelo were planted. The seedlings were cultivated in the Soka Institute nursery, and all are georeferenced.
President of the Soka Institute Edison Akira Sato commented, “This project aims to honor victims of COVID-19 and comfort their families, perpetuating their memory by planting trees, and creating benefits for the community and the environment.” Judge Adalberto Carim Antonio, principal judge of the State Environment Court, stated his pride that the people of Amazonas State can contribute to protecting the environment in this way.
Phelippe Daou Jr, CEO of Rede Amazonica TV Group, paid tribute to health workers combating COVID-19, and Claudio Barrella, Vice President of Amazonas State Industry Union, likened the trees’ need for water to human beings’ need for love and affection. Takahiro Iwato, Assistant General Consul of Japan in Manaus, also participated and planted a tree.
Where possible, each tree will be named after a victim, and for those from Amazonas State, their families may be involved in the planting. The Soka Institute hopes to involve the inhabitants of Manaus in caring for the trees.
As part of the launch ceremony, participants also signed the Earth Charter, a statement of shared values and principles for a sustainable future.
The Soka Institute for Environmental Studies and Research of the Amazon was founded in 1992 by Buddhist philosopher and peacebuilder Daisaku Ikeda. The center carries out research on conservation of the global ecosystem, has a seed bank of Amazonian tree species, and undertakes reforestation initiatives and environmental education. The Institute is supported by Brazil Soka Gakkai International (BSGI), which helped create this project.
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