Responses by Felipe Cury, executive creative director, Africa
Background: The purpose of the Refugee Tree project was to inform and raise awareness about the Amazon’s current situation. Due to the unprecedented and uncontrolled increases on the levels of devastation and exploitation of its rich rainforests, a great part of the Amazon is predicted to be turned into a Savannah-like mix of woodland and grassland in just a few years. If we do nothing, we will lose one of the most important biomes to human life maintenance on the Earth. With Climate Reality Brasil, part of the Climate Reality Project, we wanted to show the urgency of our petition, which aimed to pressure the authorities to end illegal deforestation on the Amazon.
Reasoning: We wanted to find an intriguing and unique way of bringing attention to a problem that, perhaps, many people already know about, yet, do very little to solve. By creating the two-minute short film “Refugee Tree” and additional posters, we also created a new concept and perspective for people. The Amazon is in such danger that its native habitants, like the Jatoba tree, are seeking asylum in the embassies of foreign countries. We don’t have a solution because this is a complex issue, but what we’re trying to do is to engage more people for the cause and put pressure on the local authorities who have the power to change this.
Challenges: How to tell the story. We had to include context about deforestation and link it to the resolution of claiming asylum and refuge, but this time, for a tree!
Favorite details: The level of craft we could put into the campaign, from the music that was produced with a handsaw as its main instrument for the short film—giving another meaning to the tool of destruction—to the poster designs that were inspired by the fire and forests.
Visual influences: The visuals were based on the Amazon Rainforest itself. In the film, the natural shapes of the forest are contrasted with the graphics inspired by the trails of destruction and fire.
Anything new: We learned a lot about the environmental situation. Right now, the Amazon Rainforest is at its tipping point, and if we don’t stop the fire and devastation for at least five years, it will soon lose its status as a rainforest and become a savannah. Of course, it is a big loss for the entire world, but as a Brazilian and growing up with the beauty of the Amazon, this is quite a shock and a bitter reality.