Manaus, Amazonas State, Brazil, Recognizes SGI-Brazil Members' Contributions to Improving the Natural Environment
On January 29, two trees honoring the first two Soka Gakkai presidents were planted in Passeio do Mindú Park, Manaus City, Amazonas State, Brazil, to commemorate SGI's 30th anniversary (January 26, 2005). As part of the Brazilian city's ecology project, Manaus Mayor Serafim Fernandes Corrêa has been promoting a campaign to eventually plant 1 million trees throughout the city. The two trees, dedicated to Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, respectively, launched the city's "One Million Trees" project. Manaus Mayor Corrêa and the city's Environment and Development Agency Director Luciana Montenegro Valente participated in the tree-planting. Director Valente said the trees honoring the first two Soka Gakkai presidents represented the city's appreciation to SGI-Brazil members who have greatly contributed to environmental preservation and ecological efforts. Mayor Corrêa remarked that as a young boy growing up in Manaus, he watched in despair the environmental degradation of his beloved city. He affirmed that the "One Million Trees" project was a first step toward ecological rejuvenation of the area, and expressed appreciation for the SGI-Brazil members' longstanding initiatives to preserve the environment.
Five years ago in October 1999, two national ipê trees were dedicated to SGI President Daisaku Ikeda and Mrs. Kaneko Ikeda, respectively, during a three-day conference on sustainable development in the Amazon Basin, sponsored by SGI-Brazil and its Amazon Ecological Research Center (AERC), in collaboration with governmental agencies, environmental groups and research institutes. The two newly dedicated trees have been planted near the original trees in Passeio do Mindú Park, a favorite jogging course of local residents.
Since its opening in 1992, AERC, located near Manaus, has worked with governmental agencies to promote environmental preservation and ecological research of the Amazon River Basin. Such efforts have included reforestation of native trees and native crop cultivation that introduces progressive managerial and horticultural methods that transform impoverished, low-productivity agricultural areas into profitable forests.