Pará State Government backs Extreme E effort to preserve the Amazon

Pará State Government backs Extreme E effort to preserve the Amazon

04.10.2019: The Government of Pará and a leading Brazilian conservation expert are both optimistic that Extreme E can play a key role in helping to preserve the Amazon as an important ecosystem for the planet when the all-new electric motorsport series visits the fir

The Government of Pará and a leading Brazilian conservation expert are both optimistic that Extreme E can play a key role in helping to preserve the Amazon as an important ecosystem for the planet when the all-new electric motorsport series visits the fire-ravaged Santarém region for the finale of its inaugural season.

photo caption:Extreme E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag with Governor Helder Barbalho from the Government of Pará during this week’s Amazon announcement at Utinga State Park in Belém

Santarém will host Extreme E’s rainforest round in October 2021, and earlier this week, the pioneering series’ founder and CEO Alejandro Agag and his team were taken to see a stretch of land in Brazil’s Alter do Chão Environmental Protection Area (APA), where fire brigade and civil brigade personnel acted to fight fire outbreaks last month. At the perimeter, it is still possible to see trees that have been burned, but the vegetation is already beginning to show the first signs of regeneration.

Restoration of an ecosystem like the Amazon is clearly a long-term and intricate process, and local specialists will help to ensure thorough environmental, social and governance assessments are carried out to contribute to the full re-establishment of the forest functions and its biodiversity.

Extreme E has received the support of the Government of Pará in its initiative, with the shared ambition of promoting environmental awareness, boosting regional tourism and sparking innovations in the automobile market. Agag was joined at Wednesday’s press conference at Utinga State Park in Belém by Governor Helder Barbalho, Secretary of State for Environment and Sustainability, Mauro O'de Almeida and Secretary of State for Tourism, André Dias. Barbalho predicts that the event will bring significant economic gains to the region.

“We understand that an event of this global magnitude will draw the attention of those interested in the forest and ecological tourism, so they can consider Pará as an option,” he commented. “The moment you think and talk about forest tourism, you will remember Pará and choose the state.”

Part of Extreme E’s positive legacy programme to support the Amazon region’s on-going environmental protection efforts will involve planting trees in an area the same size as the race location, every year in which the championship visits. A worldwide system is also envisaged, to invite motorsport fans to contribute to additional replanting efforts.

Extreme E will similarly support the firefighters working in the region to ensure they have the training and equipment necessary to safely and effectively continue performing the amazing work they are already doing. Whilst in Alter do Chão, Agag met members of the Santarem 4th Battalion Fire brigade as well as local volunteer firefighters who talked to him about their work, and their challenges.

“For me personally, being here in a burned rainforest is a terribly sad experience,” said Agag. “Like in many different places around the Amazon, a fire happened here and now this area is devastated. The main risk for the Amazon rainforest is deforestation, which may happen in many different ways and we want to make a positive contribution to combatting that. Extreme E is going to commit to reforesting a surface equivalent to the area in which we are going to race – between 500 and 600 hectares of rainforest per year.”

In addition to using sport to shine a global spotlight on climate issues in the locations it visits, Extreme E will work alongside local experts in each region to implement positive legacy programmes dependent on local needs.

“The Amazon is definitely somewhere that needs attention from people all over the world,” stressed Francisco Oliveira, a former Director of Policies to combat deforestation at the Brazilian Ministry of Environment, with more than 20 years’ experience of working on Amazon-related issues.

“Forest loss is one of the biggest challenges that we face on our planet at the moment, and the Amazon is at the centre of this. We have lots of people working in different areas – everywhere you go in the Amazon, there are initiatives trying to change this situation by working with the native people and using the land so we can conserve this forest at the same time as we are developing the area.

“Over 25 million people live in the Brazilian Amazon, and it’s important for them to improve their way of life but we can do it in a sustainable way. We have the problems, but we also have the solutions – we just have to scale up.

“Extreme E is a different approach to motor racing, but at the same time it brings something new, and something that is relevant to what I think is the future. Everyone can do something – even people far away from here. The fans can do something for the Amazon, even if they are in Europe, in Asia or wherever. There is always a possibility for everyone to help keep the Amazon rainforest as it is, which is an important ecosystem for the planet.”

Extreme E will visit five remote locations in 2021, each with their own unique characteristics and climate change challenges. Brazil joins Greenland as one of the first two confirmed events, with further rounds still to be announced in the Himalayas, the desert and in a coastal ocean location. The commonality between the territories where races will be held is the important message of stimulating social and environmental action.


A damaged region in the Brazilian state of Pará will host the Amazon rainforest stage when Extreme E Season 1 gets underway in 2021

Julia Fry, photos Extreme E


04.10.2019 / MaP

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