An Article By Jessica Stewart on August 30, 2023...
Brazilian stunt performer Luigi Cani is an incredible athlete. The skydiving legend has completed nearly 14,000 jumps and set 11 world records over his two-decade-long career. That would be impressive on its own, but Cani's legacy has only grown as he's used his talents to better the world. In 2022, he performed one of his most nerve-wracking stunts to date—skydiving into a deforested part of the Amazon with a box containing 100 million seeds from 27 native plants.
The goal was for Cani to open the box midair, release the seeds, and simultaneously plant 100 million plants. However, executing this vision took five years of intense planning. Nothing was easy: from obtaining the proper permits from the Brazilian government to building a biodegradable seedbox that would properly distribute the seeds.
Two months were needed to cultivate the seeds from a nearby rainforest, and in the leadup to the big jump, things were looking shaky. Three test boxes failed just days before the jump in January 2022, leaving the team scrambling to find a solution. “We stayed up all night trying to find a way to seal a leak in the box,” Cani recalls.
Once the box was fixed, Cani still had to make sure that he could keep a grip on the box and release all of the seeds at the correct moment. It wasn't easy. “I struggled to hold the box. I nearly broke my wrist and fingers. I managed to stabilize myself at about 6,000 ft, and the seeds were released precisely where we wanted them to be. It was complete ecstasy.” Still, Cani calls the jump as “the only jump in my life that I held my breath the entire time.”
Luckily, it appears that all of the effort was worth it. With a germination rate of 95%, Cani's jump means that a huge part of the deforested Amazon now has a chance to thrive. Once mature, the trees could reach up to 50 meters, and Cani's team is constantly monitoring the situation by satellite. By early 2024, enough time will have passed that they'll be able to fully assess the success of the mission.
In the meantime, Cani continues to use his daredevil nature for a greater purpose. In fact, more environmental work is on the horizon, with a future jump that deals with ocean plastic. “I’ve been jumping for 25 years, and I’ve always pushed the limits with risky jumps,” he shares. “Now, I’m 51 years old, and I don’t have that drive for danger anymore. I want to do something to help. Like the seed drop, this next project will have real meaning behind it.”