By Niklas Hildebrandt
Often I’m confused for being Dutch because of my accent and the way I look, but the truth is that I am zero percent Dutch; I’m actually for Denmark. However, what never ever happens is that people confuse me for being Latin. I don’t look Latin, I’m not entirely sure that I feel Latin, but what I do know is that I spent all of my childhood in South America. I grew up listening to Latin music, speaking Spanish/ Portuguese on a daily basis, and living in tropical conditions.
While, we lived in Sao Paulo in Brazil a city that is 4000 km apart from the Amazon, we together with the rest of the city would often be directly affected by events in the Amazon. Despite the vast distances the cities were connected. For example, last year we experienced one of the worst droughts ever in Sao Paulo. The water reservoirs level was around 5%, meaning that we experienced daily water shutoffs. In turn huge trucks would come to deliver water to us. Our apartment building even ended up building our own water well pump.
It might be difficult to see the relationship between the Amazon and the drought in Sao Paulo; however, the Amazon forest plays a huge role in controlling levels of rain across the country as every day 20 billion tons of water evaporates from the Amazon. To put that into perspective, if humans were to evaporate that amount of water it would take 6 months using all of the world’s energy supplies. The trees play a vital role in this, so when deforestation occurs, the level of evaporation increases.
This Christmas I even went to the Amazon forest where I got to see with my own eyes the effects of deforestation. Also I spoke with the locals and they told me it had been the driest year that they could remember. We were in the rainforest in the middle of the rain season, yet there was no rain, only the sun’s rays burning throughout the day. As one of the taxi drivers told me, a drought is bad enough in itself, but a drought further propels the effects of deforestation, as forest fires are much likelier to occur when it is so dry. Trees store a lot of CO2; therefor, the process then becomes further self-fulfilling as when the trees burn, they release CO2, which then through greenhouse effect increase the overall temperature. This higher temperature increases the risk of forest fires, which then contributes to higher temperatures. So, this trend eventually becomes a natural cycle that is out of our control.
This is actually why I decided to get involved with Cuipo, which aims to spread awareness about the disastrous effects of deforestation and to save the rainforest by selling bottled water. Now that I have personally felt the effects of deforestation of the Amazon, I have come to realize that the rainforest is extremely important for the future health of not only Brazil, but also the rest of the world. Therefor, I think it is great that Cuipo has already bought over 100 million square meters of rainforest in Panama and Brazil. This then means that every time you buy a bottle of water you personally save one of these square meters. In addition, every bottle comes with a unique code that you personally enter into our website so you see through Google Maps what square meter of rainforest you saved.
Cuipo has already caught on in the US, specifically in California; therefore, Cuipo thought why not bring it to Europe, which is what they have done. Cuipo is a completely new and unique concept in the Dutch market and we honestly believe that this is the best way to save the rainforest.
Even though, we believe in the product, it is not always easy to enter a new market, especially when it is water. This also means that we often face rejections because firms already have water such as Earth Water or Stella Maris, which also have social causes. We at Cuipo water have a deeply rooted belief that our water is better because of the more concrete actions that we take. While there have been some struggles, we have still managed to almost sell 3 entire pallets of water, which I find very impressive. In the hands of Team Flux, we think that we can make it a great success on the Dutch market.