Tony Sheen, a former highflying financier, has left his job so that he can visit Brazil and join the fight against deforestation.
The 47-year-old gave up his job as the vice-president of financial firm JP Morgan in 2006 so that he could pursue his charity work and help people in the world’s poorest areas.
He will act as a representative of CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) and will travel to one of the most heavily logged regions of Brazil’s rainforest, Pará.
Mr. Sheen said: “I am naturally apprehensive about visiting such a dangerous area, but I feel it is important to stand alongside the poor in Brazil whose rights are often trampled on by rich landowners. It’s a dreadful situation and utterly indefensible people are exploiting the land and the law. We want to be vocal about these things with the Brazilian and British governments.”
CAFOD have discovered that four murders have taken place in the area because of the conflict over logging and land. Local farmers are being forced to leave their homes to make room for mines and cattle ranches. The charity aims to get the Brazilian government to stop deforestation, catch criminal landowners and release environmental activists who have been imprisoned.
Mr Sheen added: “The Brazilian government are sensitive to international pressure and they do react to stories in the foreign press and protests abroad. We need to show them that people all over the world care about the problems in the rainforest.”