From the rotten meat scandal, to the ongoing corruption investigations, it’s hard to find any uplifting news from Brazil. The country is not only going through an economic crisis, but also a political one that’s shaking the foundation of its democracy.
Meanwhile, the Amazon rainforest is being torn apart. Last week, politicians with deep ties to agribusiness pushed through two proposals that would reduce the protection of 1.1 million hectares of the Amazon — an area bigger than all of Jamaica. By recategorizing these areas (known as Conservation Units), agribusiness, mining and energy industries would be more able to destroy the forest, as some levels of protections are less restricted to economical activities than others.
Manicore district, Amazonas state. Recent deforestation in Santo Antonio de Matupi district, next to the Aripuana National Forest and the Area of Environmental Protection of Manicore Fields – 19 Feb, 2017 @Daniel Beltra / Greenpeace
These proposals are not alone. They are part of what is being called “the package of evil” in Brazil — a set of bills aiming to slash social rights and environmental policies across the whole country. This package also includes an attack on other Amazon protected areas — a proposal that would completely remove one Conservation Unit from the Amazon and reduce four others by 40% only in the state of Amazonas. These changes would benefit landowners and corporations — not the Brazilian public.
Unfortunately, amidst political turbulence in the country — including the most recent corruption scandal involving almost one third of the Senate, ministers and 39 members of Congress — these latest attacks on the Amazon rainforest have barely made the news.
This is a crucial moment in history. We are already facing catastrophic climate disruption, and deforestation is the Amazon is on the rise again. By trying to strip the Amazon of vital protections, Brazil is both harming the forest and the communities who live there, and impacting our chance to create a stable climate.
Aripuana Nationa Forest, Novo Aripuana Amazonas state in the Brazilian Amazon, Recent deforestation – 19 Feb, 2017 @Daniel Beltra / Greenpeace
Share this story and shine a light on this greedy political maneuver. Now is the time for Brazil to act in defense of the forest and the climate — not assist in their destruction.
Diego Gonzaga is a Content Editor at Greenpeace USA.
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