The Amazon rainforest is burning at a record rate. This year so far there have been nearly double the number of forest fires than in 2018, with over 9,500 new forest fires started in the last week alone. Environmental organisations and researchers say the wildfires blazing in the Brazilian rainforest were set by cattle ranchers and loggers who want to clear and utilise the land, encouraged by President Jair Bolsonaro policies. The surge in deforestation of the Amazon has confirmed fears that President Jair Bolsonaro’s policy encourages illegal land invasion, logging, and burning. To understand what is happening in the Amazon it is crucial to understand that protecting Indigenous rights is at the core of this issue.
“These territories are contributing oxygen and biodiversity to the world — and the world should know that we are defending them with our lives. We have to strengthen the protection of our leaders so they can protect the environment.”
— José Absalón Suárez Solís, Proceso de Comunidades Negras de Colombia.
Last week, Engajamundo — a Brazilian youth-led climate justice network — held a day of action for the destruction taking place in the Amazon. National mobilisations were held across the country in partnership with coalitions to call for action, despite Bolsonaro’s threat that NGOs are now enemies of the state. The event SOS Amazônia, shared the following call to action:
The Amazon rainforest is burning. We need to mobilise ourselves and our community by taking action now. It is necessary to join forces for the forest that carries lives of people, stories and the identity of a country. Those lives are on the forefront of the fight against the climate crises. The increasing deforestation is contributing to spread the fire making the situation worse than ever — In Brazil, the fire focus grew 70% this month related to the same period in 2018, this represents the largest increase in six years.
Go to the Brazilian embassy in your country with signs and posters talking about the importance of the Amazon warning on the climate crisis! The Brazilian government needs to be pressured to treat the forest with responsibility. Please, push your own government to stop trade negotiations with products that increase deforestation. We are talking about our health, biodiversity, food security, and water. We are talking about human rights.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO TAKE ACTION?
- Read this thread to learn about the 6th mass extinction, climate breakdown & ecological collapse, all caused by the destructive madness of corporate capitalism.
- Sign a Change.org Petition calling for an investigation into the Amazonian fires.
- Sign the Greenpeace Petition calling on the Brazil government to save the Amazon rainforest.
- Donate to the Protect An Acre Program by the Rainforest Action Network
- Reduce your consumption of products that come from and affect the rainforest.
- Without respect for Indigenous rights, climate change will worsen, UN says
- Brazil’s indigenous people swear to fight for Amazon ‘to last drop of blood’
- The Amazon’s best hope? A female indigenous chief is on a mission to save Brazil’s forests
- Climate change, oxygen and biodiversity: Amazon rainforest fires leave plenty at stake
- Blame humans for starting the Amazon fires, environmentalists say
Maya Hendler is the Programmes and Communications Associate at Women’s March Global.