For more than month, the Amazon has been ravaged by a large number of fires in Brazil and neighboring countries. This unprecedented number of fires aggravates the climate crisis and, with it, the threat of increasingly harmful natural disasters.
As a response, AIDA has called for the governments of the Amazon basin to adopt urgent measures to stop the fires. AIDA’s Brazilian attorney, Marcella Torres, participated on a televised panel to discuss the impacts of the fires and to raise awareness of the situation. In addition, we called on citizens and the international community to pressure the governments of Brazil and the other countries of the region to reverse course and effectively protect the Amazon, its biodiversity, and the people who depend on it.
The consequences of these fires are particularly devastating for the biodiversity of the area and for the communities that inhabit it, making this a situation that requires increasingly urgent and effective actions.
The Amazon holds 20% of the Earth's unfrozen fresh water and is home to a quarter of the world's species. In addition, the Amazon jungle releases about 20% of the oxygen we breathe and stores 90 to 140 billion tons of carbon dioxide, regulating the global climate. The international scientific community has emphatically pointed out that the destruction of tropical forests causes 20% of greenhouse gas emissions.
For this reason, the Amazon ecosystem is vital for mitigating the climate crisis. The current fires demonstrate that the Amazon is now more vulnerable than before due to a combination of factors, including increased droughts, deforestation, unsustainable use of soil and subsoil, and development projects.
The Belo Monte Dam is one of the projects making the rainforest more vulnerable. That’s why we’ve worked relentlessly to support the indigenous communities fighting against it. As one of the biggest development projects in the Amazon, it’s impacts and the importance of our fight is now more relevant than ever.
Scientific evidence demonstrates that hydropower projects are a significant source of greenhouse gases—CO2 and, particularly, methane—and they have a significant role in aggravating climate change.
The policies, rhetoric and actions of Jair Bolsonaro's government have the same impact, actively dismantling due protection of the Amazon and its indigenous peoples. His administration intensified recent attempts to undermine Brazil’s progressive legislation on environmental protection and human rights - especially those of indigenous peoples, quilombolas (descendants of African slaves), family farmers and other traditional populations. They irresponsibly promote the expansion of the agricultural, livestock and extractive frontier in the Amazon, resulting in increased deforestation and the consequences we are witnessing today.
Because of this, we have publically demanded that our region’s governments take concrete actions to:
- Strengthen institutions and environmental norms,
- Immediately suspend rhetoric that encourages deforestation and the destruction of the Amazon,
- Stop the indiscriminate expansion of the agricultural, livestock and extractive frontier in the area,
- Adopt proper land use and planning,
- Ensure the existence and restoration of ecosystem life cycles, and
- Control deforestation and conserve the Amazon with the financial and technical support of multilateral international cooperation.