Deforestation is responsible for three quarters of Brazil's greenhouse gas emissions, and makes the country the fourth largest climate polluter in the world.
300 loggers, with eight trucks, ten vans, and 15 motorbikes
surrounded the building. Then, last night, Brazilian police
escorted our team to out of town.
We intended to use the Brazil nut tree as part of a public
exhibition exposing Amazon destruction and its contribution to
global warming. The tree was taken from land that had been
illegally cleared and burnt.
Update - 26 October -
Both the governor and the mayor of Sao Paulo have joined our
call for zero deforestation in the Amazon. (
Government Sides with Loggers
Unfortunately, the Brazilian government gave in to the loggers,
and revoked Greenpeace's license to remove, transport and exhibit
the valuable and protected Brazil nut tree, now in custody of the
loggers. Despite the government back down, many loggers continued
to surround the building with our activists inside. It was not
until police committed to escort them later that night, that the
Greenpeace team was able to make it to safety.
The loggers were undermining basic constitutional rights such as
security and freedom of movement. It is the second time in two
months that Greenpeace has been
harassed like this in the Amazon jungle.
All this fuss over a tree
That a mob of 300, many of them involved in illegal
deforestation, was allowed to stop eight activists from collecting
one dead tree shows how out of control the situation is in this
part of Brazil - and how special Brazil nut trees are.
Since 1994, the Brazilian nut tree (Bertholettia excelsa) has
been protected by law from burning and logging, but is still
endangered by illegal land clearing.
They can grow to over 50 metres tall, live for 500 years and are
integral to the rainforest ecosystem. Brazil nuts grow in canon
ball like clusters about the size of grapefruits, which can reach
deadly speeds as they fall from the canopy. Its fruit (nuts) are
extremely high in protein - eaten in the region and exported to
countries like the UK, Germany and Italy. The nuts are one of the
main non-timber forests products in the Amazon. About one million
people depend on them.
Now this one tree is a symbol. On this, even the illegal
loggers and the activists they blockaded agree. The loggers have
said they will build a memorial with the tree in the town square.
For us, this is a memorial showing the lack of governance in the
Amazon - that the ones in charge aren't the government or the
people of Brazil, but the loggers.
Brazil: World’s fourth largest climate polluter
Deforestation is responsible for three quarters of Brazil's
greenhouse gas emissions, and makes the country the fourth largest
climate polluter in the world. Our exhibition using the Brazil nut
tree to highlight this has wide support across the country.
Governors of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo have already confirmed
Brazil wants to be recognized as a serious player on the
international stage, yet can't even uphold its own constitution in
the Amazon. Greenpeace is calling for including deforestation in
the post-2012 Kyoto climate regime to be discussed in Bali,
Indonesia this December.
As Marcelo Maquesini, one of the team trapped inside the Ibama
office said, "If Brazil is to be taken seriously by the
international community in negotiations on climate, biodiversity or
human rights, then they need to be able to enforce basic law and
order in the areas where forests are being destroyed."
Amazon deforestation must end
The Brazilian government should allow us to take the Brazil nut
tree as agreed. Tackling deforestation is an urgent issue, and
people in Brazil (and around the world) have a right to see first
hand the consequences of land clearing in the Amazon.
Greenpeace, in cooperation with nine other groups, two weeks ago
launched a proposal for a national agreement to end Amazon
deforestation at an event attended by the Brazilian Minister of
Environment and State Governors. The proposal seeks a broad
commitment from the Brazilian government and civil society to
create measures protecting the Amazon rainforest.
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