How a Love of Sports and the Environment Is Making a Positive Impact
We have an exciting update to share from our partnership with Arsenal Football Club’s Hector Bellerin! Thanks to Hector’s tremendous support and dedication to the environment via a fundraiser that was popular with fans, a significant contribution has been made for the Amazon Rainforest. The trees will be planted in a critically important ecosystem, with many local people who help conservation and restoration in the area.
Back in June Hector pledged to fund the planting of 3,000 trees for every Arsenal win through the end of the season. We anxiously watched the games hoping that Arsenal would pull through on top each time, and they had a great season. Congratulations to Arsenal FC on 7 wins through June and July, plus one tie for which Hector decided to plant the trees anyway even though the team didn't technically win.
The great thing about this initiative is that while it was Hector Bellerin personally who initiated the campaign with us, the total contribution depended on teamwork from the start. Not unlike the many collective actions when it comes to reaching our goals for sustainability.
Fan art by Marcello Martinelli
We’d also like to extend our thanks to the many Arsenal FC fans that enthusiastically supported Hector’s campaign and further contributed to his goal, helping to make the biggest possible impact for the environment. In an unexpected (but welcomed!) turn of events, Arsenal FC rival, Paddy Power, even joined the campaign by promising to plant 6,000 trees every time Arsenal didn’t win. We loved seeing the good-hearted competition, and in this case, it really worked out in favor of nature!
So, we’ve crunched the numbers and the results are in! Hector’s campaign will plant 58,617 trees.
“I try everything I can every day to make sure I live my best life for the planet and in the process, given the platform I have, I try to make others conscious of this as well” said Hector Bellerin.
Reforestation will begin this fall, and in the meantime the nursery is looking pretty good!
The Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor
Hector’s contribution is supporting a much larger reforestation project that we have in the works with the Black Jaguar Foundation in Brazil, and other partners, to plant trees in Central Brazil’s Araguaia Biodiversity Corridor. The objective is to create natural resilience in this important ecosystem and restore over 1 million hectares by planting over 1.7 billion trees.
This biodiversity corridor will connect two of the world’s most vital ecosystems: the Amazon Rainforest and the Cerrado Savanna, making it the longest nature corridor on Earth and one of South America’s largest reforestation projects.
The scope is truly astonishing, with a total length of 2,600 kilometers and a width of up to 40 kilometers alongside the riverbanks of the entire Araguaia river.
A major goal of the project is to restore native vegetation within a matrix of different land uses. Improving biodiversity will in return provide us with oxygen, clean water, air filtration, pollinated plants, and regulated wildlife populations, all the things that humans rely on to survive and that maintain the balance of nature.
This project will also help to create over 37,000 jobs. Individuals from local communities will be hired to manage tree nurseries, build structures, prepare areas for reforestation, plant seedlings, and perform maintenance.
As you may know, the Amazon Rainforest has been greatly affected by wildfires over the past few years. Restoring these ecosystems with native, fire-resistant vegetation helps to mitigate the risk of widespread forest fire while also helping biodiversity habitats thrive.
We are honored to take part in restoring the beloved Amazon Rainforest, which is no small feat, and requires massive restoration efforts to rebuild. We’re also extremely grateful to have an influential and dedicated advocate like Hector Bellerin helping to raise awareness of the climate crisis and supporting critical ecosystems in Brazil.
We’re looking forward to getting the trees from Hector’s campaign in the ground and will keep you all in the loop on the outstanding progress to be made. In the meantime you can also contribute to this reforestation project and plant a tree in the Amazon today!
Image credit: Arsenal FC
We plant trees on 4 continents around the world. Want to choose where yours are planted?
by Diana Chaplin
Canopy Director & Eco-Storyteller