Today, we’d like to clue you fab Flashionistas into the cause behind our most colorful Flash Tattoos to date – our Illia collection! Rainforest Partnership is another amazing organization that we are honored to work with. With us is Community Relations Coordinator, Nickie Harris, who will answer all our burning questions!
Share a little bit about what Rainforest Partnership does, and how the organization was founded
The Rainforest Partnership is an international non-profit with a mission to save rainforests. We work with communities in the rainforest to help them make a sustainable income that will allow them to protect the forest. Some of the projects that we began include an eco-hostel in the Colibri Cloud Forest of Peru and an all women basket making group, the Allima Waska, in Chipaota, Peru.
We were founded in 2007 in Austin, Texas. Our founder, Niyanta Spelman and founding board members worked together to create our model and mission. Following this Niyanta travelled to Peru and Ecuador to establish first hand relationships with people there who also wanted to save the forests. Since then, we have been working with those communities, together creating sustainable sources of income. In places outside the rainforest, we work to educate people about why the rainforest is such powerful place, and what they can do to save it.
Flash Tattoos donates 5% of the proceeds from each Illia collection purchase to the Rainforest Partnership. How has the partnership with Flash Tattoos impacted Rainforest Partnership?
Working with Flash Tattoos has been a exciting experience from the beginning! A fun product like Flash Tattoos is a cool way to introduce Rainforest Partnership to a new demographic, and the tattoos are so recognizable. They have become a symbol of RP that we take with us all over the world! The colorful Ilia pack is so striking that people just can’t help but ask what it is, and we just can’t help tell them about RP, Flash Tattoos, and how together we are saving the rainforest!
What was one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had working at Rainforest Partnership?
In July we held our very first Sunday Funday Pool Party, Amazon Wave. It was the perfect, tropical pool party, full of partiers, pool floats, and popsicles. This is my most memorable experience at RP because we worked so hard on the party every step of the way, and to see it come together the way it did was unreal. What makes this party remarkable is that we had few expenses as every major aspect of Amazon Wave was donated, from the W Hotel Pool Space, FunBoy Floats, Holy Kombucha, and the Say Cheese Photobooth. All of these organizations wanted to support RP and our mission in the forest, helping us raise nearly $10,000. Every event we do is pretty spectacular (if I can brag a little) but at Amazon Wave I definitely felt the rainforest vibes bringing people together.
What makes Rainforest Partnership unique from any other rainforest restoration project?
Our approach is unique. The RP model addresses the underlying cause for deforestation: economics. Communities in the forest need to make an income, just like anywhere else. Instead of selling off their land to companies who will deplete it through palm oil production or practicing unsustainable agriculture or ranching, we offer a sustainable solution. By partnering with RP, a community can develop products or services unique to the rainforest, which they can then market locally. A model like ours allows the people of the rainforest to take a stake in the protection of the forest, and continue to thrive even after the project is completed.
What are some of Rainforest Partnership’s proudest achievements in 2015?
Rainforest Partnership has traveled all around the world this year: from New York City for Climate Week to Cannes, Frances for the Cannes Lyons International Festival of Creativity. There, our very own Melissa Matherne was a part of Microsoft and Fast Company’s Create Good Initiative. There, we made connections to global innovators and creative geniuses who are doing big things for the world today. We are so proud of this achievement because it shows Rainforest Partnership on a global stage, right up there with the best and brightest in the realm of innovation and creativity.
Another huge achievement for RP this year is the creation of our the Achuar project. The Achuar territory in Peru is a community of 12,200 people. They are custodians of the rainforest, living in harmony with nature, but their way of life and survival is threatened by international oil companies exploring and drilling for oil. As part of this project we have created a well that serves the main area of the community, and an even more exciting part of this project is the creation of a traditional medical clinic. Here, community members can prepare and store traditional rainforest medicines, which can then be sold at market as part of a sustainable income.
What are some initiatives you are working on for 2016?
Coming up in 2016, we will break ground on the traditional medical clinic in the Achuar community. We are also launching the Inaugural World Rainforest Day! This a day to celebrate rainforests worldwide, in all their beauty, magic, and importance for our planet. More exciting initiatives we are working on for next year are expansion of Rainforest Listening , more Conscious Cocktails , our 7th annual Films for the Forest.
How can people help Rainforest Partnership achieve these goals? (Outline different ways to donate, trips, events, etc…whatever you want to highlight!)?
Become a Rainforest Partner! This is the number one way to get involved. Being a Rainforest Partner means committing to one sustainable action plus a monthly donation. A sustainable action to we support here at RP is living palm-oil free! You can do this by checking out the ingredients label on common products like snack foods and beauty supplies.
Other ways to get involved with RP are to follow us on social media for updates on all things rainforest, come out to our spectacular events, or volunteer or intern with us!
Something special we have coming up on December 1st is Giving Tuesday. This is an international day dedicated to giving, whether it is your time, money, or support. Find out how you can support RP on Giving Tuesday by visiting our blog!
The Rainforest Partnership gives color to all lives and we are so ecstatic knowing that we are helping in making it happen