One of our newest community partners is HalfCut, a social and environmental organisation that raises funds to save the Daintree. Andrew Banks, a lawyer in our pro bono and community team, tells us more.
HalfCut is a social and environmental organisation that works to engage people to raise funds for rainforest regeneration and conservation, as well as protecting threatened and endangered species, or, as some prefer to call it, Rewilding. HalfCut works with partners to raise funds to buy back sold-off parts of the Daintree Rainforest and hand the land titles back to the ownership and management of the Traditional Owners, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people – who are the oldest living culture in the world's oldest living rainforest.
HalfCut is led by Jimmy and Jessica Stanton-Cooke. Jimmy came up with the idea of HalfCut as a response to the sad reality that over half of the world’s rainforests have been cut down. To raise awareness and drive fundraising, he shaved off half his beard – as you will see in our photos!
‘When I learned that half the world’s forests are destroyed, that’s a big problem. So what do you do? You cut your beard in half,’ Jimmy says.
‘That made all the difference because people were like “Mate, what are you playing at? Did you lose a bet?” That allowed me to start a conversation to say, “Look, we are losing a bet with Mother Nature now and driving towards potentially mass extinction.” Half Cut was a way to be a fun visual disruption to get people to start a conversation.’
HalfCut works in close collaboration with the Jabalbina Aboriginal Corporation (made up of and representing the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people) and Rainforest4 (a conservation organisation).
I, along with my colleague Claire Eichorn, travelled to the Daintree to spend a week learning the land as well as the history and culture of the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people. It was a particularly special week, as HalfCut’s community fundraising recently made possible the recent acquisition of 10 lots of land, which were handed back to the Traditional Owners in a ceremony.
‘We were very big on the conservation and environmentalism side. We consulted and wanted this to be led by Traditional Owners but when they told us, “You’re helping us heal country, you’re helping us heal culture, you’re making reconciliation every day”, that’s where we thought “Wow, this has gone to a whole new level”. We’re honoured to be a part of it,’ Jimmy says.