Israeli startup VeganNation announced Friday that it leased some 15,000 acres (60.7 square kilometers or 23.4 square miles) in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest for a ten-year period to protect the land from deforestation and wildlife poaching. The Amazon basin covers about 2.7 million square miles, 2.1 million square miles of which is rainforest; and much of it is in Brazil.
VeganNation, which built a global e-commerce platform and social network for vegans worldwide powered by its own digital currency, said it would hand the land over to preservation groups and activist organizations to protect it.
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“The Amazon rainforest might be located in Brazil, but its destruction affects us all, as climate change is a direct result of human activity and it’s in our hands to fight it,” said Isaac Thomas, VeganNation CEO and co-founder.
The startup also announced partnerships with four local soccer teams (Remo, Paysandu, National, and Iranduba) from cities near the entrance to the rainforest to raise environmental awareness. Thomas tells NoCamels that VeganNation is already a main sponsor of the teams – three men’s teams and one women’s team – and revealed that an additional four top-tier national teams are set to sign on to the initiative.
Thomas says the plan has been in the works for months. “We thought how can we take things to the next level, raise awareness about the environment, about veganism, and team up with local soccer teams to raise awareness with fans.”
VeganNation’ initiative comes amid the devastating fires that have continued to burn in the rainforest since early August, releasing dangerous air pollutants into the atmosphere, severely damaging flora and fauna ecosystems, and endangering indigenous communities that live under the forest canopy. The fires can be seen from space.