Forest Positive Leadership – a conversation with Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui

September 2020

As the Brazilian Amazon forests continue to be menaced by fires and acts of illegal deforestation, one of Brazil’s and South America’s most respected thought leaders, Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui , from the Paiter-Surui tribe, gives us an inside view of the current situation, including the arrival of Covid-19 virus to his community, and his people’s ongoing fight and action against deforestation.

Chief Almir is a man with big ideas and a long-term vision. He acts global and thinks local. He has partnered with Google Earth in order to create an indigenous forest map to track deforestation. The Paiter-Surui also became the first indigenous people to develop a Forest Carbon Project to finance reforestation through the sale of carbon offsets and they created the first university for the indigenous peoples entirely dedicated to building a sustainable forest. His higher mission is to teach people to work with the Forest to develop sustainable reforestation practices and create added value for the forest and its people.

Also joining in the discussion:

Thomas Pizer, Founder and President of the Geneva-based association , which supports indigenous peoples in their struggle to safeguard their cultures and the primary forest in Brazil. The association supports the projects of the Surui people who have planted more than 200,000 trees in 10 years.

Victor Galaz, Deputy Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University  in Stockholm, Sweden, whose research focuses on the Earth’s climate’s tipping point scenarios. This research has helped build a case for governments, private sector entities and individuals to take speedy and measurable steps towards climate action.

Corey Klemmer, Domini’s Director of Corporate Engagement , and in charge of the Domini Forest Project, will be interviewing Chief Almir Surui and animating the discussion.

The Domini Forest Project, a multi-year initiative, expresses the firm’s ongoing commitment to promoting a forest-positive economy by strengthening its investment criteria to reflect the urgent need to protect forests and by engaging with companies, NGOs and organizations on long-term forest value creation.

This virtual event will take place on Thursday, September 24 at 10:00 am ET-11:30 am ET during NYC Climate Week: Sept. 21-27, 2020.

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Almir Narayamoga Surui  is Chief of the Paiter Suruí people in the state of Rondônia, Brazil. He is a major leader in the fight against deforestation in the Amazon. Since 2007 he has leveraged Google Earth technology to help preserve the Amazon rainforest and his people’s way of life. Chief Almir has been widely recognized for his efforts in having addressed the UN General Assembly and receiving the Human Rights Prize from the International Society for Human Rights.

Thomas Pizer trained as an advertising photographer at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California. After returning to Switzerland, he worked as a photographer in Geneva, Switzerland before joining the International Committee of the Red Cross as a delegate, working in conflict zones across the globe for 16 years. In 2000, after returning from his missions with the Red Cross, he resumed an artistic activity and settled in Geneva as a freelance graphic designer.

In 2002, he founded the Geneva-based association, which supports indigenous peoples in their struggle to safeguard their cultures and the primary forest in Brazil. The association supports the projects of the Surui people who have planted more than 200,000 trees in 10 years. In 2006, Thomas was adopted by the Surui tribe. Thanks to Chief Almir, he rubs shoulders with some of the greatest and most inspiring indigenous leaders, deeply rooted in their struggle to save their people and the Amazon rainforest. Today the association also supports two other peoples who are defenders of the Amazonian forest, the Ashaninka and the Puyanawa.

Thomas took a large number of photographs during his repeated trips to the primary forest with his indigenous friends and has begun to apply his digital technique to his photographic work in the Amazonian forest. SInce 2016 he has developed a new body of artistic work which results in a series of digital pieces, the “Amazonauts”.

Victor Galaz is deputy director and associate professor at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Program Director at the Beijer Institute for its program Governance and Complexity as well as Senior Academy Fellow at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences where he co-leads the program Global Economic Dynamic and the Biosphere’s work on financial systems, and their connection to large-scale environmental change with global non-linear climate repercussions.

Galaz has extensive experience as research leader in interdisciplinary projects exploring various dimensions of complex adaptive systems from his work as research theme leader (years 2006-2015) at the Stockholm Resilience Centre; Deputy Science Director at the Stockholm Resilience Centre; Acting Executive Director (2014-2015) at the Royal Swedish Academy; project leader for the project “Earth system finance” (2016-ongoing); co-lead of the Lancet Commission on Human Health and Climate Change (2013-2015), Researcher and theme leader in the international research consortium Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa (DDDAC), together with STEPS Centre (UK), Institute for Development Studies (UK) and others (2012-2016); Member of the Convention on Biological Diversity Liaison Expert group on geo-engineering (2011-2012); and Advisor to the EU High-Level Group on Innovation Policy Management (2017).

Among his publications are articles in journals including The Lancet; International Environmental Agreements; Trends in Environment and Evolution; Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment; Global Environmental Change; Ecological Economics; Public Administration; Environmental Politics; Governance; Complexity, Governance and Networks; Nature Climate Change; Science and others.

Corey Klemmer joined Domini in 2018 as the Director of Engagement. Corey’s diverse experience with law, financial analysis, corporate engagements and issue-based organizing enables her to lead Domini’s efforts as a voice for change. She is responsible for leading Domini’s engagement efforts with portfolio companies and broader stakeholder groups, as well as developing initiatives and campaigns.

Prior to joining Domini, Corey served as an analyst at the AFL-CIO Offi­ce of Investment where she worked with pension funds, policy makers and other stakeholders to advocate for forward-thinking investor perspectives on many issues including systemic risk, human capital management, student debt, criminal justice reform, and corporate disclosure reform. Her legal background includes work with the Strategic Counsel for Corporate Sustainability, The Initiative for Responsible Investment and her work as an attorney at The Lambert Firm prior to joining AFL-CIO.

Corey graduated cum laude from Amherst College with a B.A. in Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought and earned her J.D. from Tulane University Law School.

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Presented by  Domini Impact Investments LLC in partnership with NYC Climate Week 2020