‘The environment has always been my passion. Mother Earth is our fundamental life-support system, and by becoming aware and responsible now, we can help preserve the planet.’
You’d know Gisele Bündchen’s face anywhere. The Brazilian-born beauty is the world’s highest-paid supermodel, is often seen gracing the covers of the top international fashion magazines, and is the face of ad campaigns for such companies as Apple, Christian Dior and Versace.
But when she’s not in front of the camera or on the catwalks, Gisele is a devoted environmental campaigner, using her fame to raise awareness and encourage us to protect the planet.
Gisele grew up surrounded by nature in southern Brazil, and was aware of the destruction of the country’s forests and how that affects the people who depend on them. Her involvement in environmental causes began in 2006, after a visit to an Indian tribe on the Xingu River in the Amazonian rainforest. Seeing how the tribe suffered from water pollution and other problems caused by deforestation for cattle ranching, soy production and logging, Gisele worked with her footwear company, Grendene, to create a line of sandals to raise awareness of environmental causes and raise money for forest- and water-related projects in Brazil’s Atlantic and Amazon rainforests.
In 2008, Gisele returned to her home town of Horizontina to launch Projeto Água Limpa (Clean Water Project) with the help of her family. The project promotes sustainable environmental management in the region, and aims to aid the recovery of river-based vegetation and local water sources in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. During the first phase of the project, 40,000 native tree saplings were planted.
Then Gisele personally joined in planting the Gisele Bündchen Seeds Forest: 25,500 trees of 100 species covering more than 15 hectares in Campinas and Bahia, Brazil. The project is part of conservation efforts to save what remains of Brazil’s Atlantic forest, which once covered 15 per cent of the country.
In 2009, Gisele was named a UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, to help raise awareness and inspire action to protect the environment, with a particular focus on climate change and environmental degradation. Today, Gisele maintains a green blog on her website that ‘reflects on socio-environmental issues that we can do something about’.