“Let's turn ourselves into a role model for many people." This is how Clodoaldo Silva, farmer from the municipality of Ibirapitanga, in Bahia, evaluates the relevance of his attitude and that of other small producers when the topic is environmental conservation. And this is not just their concern: the world is focused on the topic. Celebrated annually on June 5, World Environment Day brought with it important reflections amidst so many disastrous news stories. As part of this year's campaign for the date, the United Nations (UN) is encouraging people to become more connected with nature, emphasizing the benefits this brings for health and for the planet.
Working in the Pratigi Environmental Protection Area (EPA), located in the Bahia Southern Lowlands, one institution has certainly been doing its part. Working with partners and the local rural population, such as Silva, the Land Conservation Organization (OCT) – supported by the Odebrecht Foundation through its Program for Development and Growth Integrated with Sustainability (PCDCIS) – has been promoting a true revolution in the landscape.
Creating a Chain
Since 2002, the institution has celebrated the results of actions such as the Payment for Environmental Services Project (PSA). Forty family farmers are benefited, receiving technical and financial assistance with the integrated planning of their properties. This is the case of Eliseu de Oliveira. “We need to preserve this wealth that God has given us," said Oliveira. "If I care for my land and water, the neighbor will become more conscious too, and this is how we create a chain," he said. The initiative, which became a public policy in the municipality of Ibirapitanga, is a first of its kind in Bahia and received an investment of R$ 90,000.
Partnerships in the State
OCT is celebrating other achievements together with partners such as the Bahia State Public Prosecutor's Office, the Boticário Group Nature Protection Foundation, National Water Agency (ANA), and the federal and state universities located in Bahia.
In 2017, for example, over 70 hectares of Agroforest Systems were installed as demonstrative and replicable models, 80 water sources are being recovered through reforestation actions, and 1,000 State Forest and Rural Property Registrations (CEFIR) have been created. CFIR is an online record, designed to serve as a declaration, that ensures the environmental regulation of rural properties.