AmazonFire

Nowhere are the stakes higher than in the Amazon basin—and not just because it contains 40% of Earth’s rainforests and harbours 10-15% of the world’s terrestrial species. South America’s natural wonder may be perilously close to the tipping-point beyond which its gradual transformation into something closer to steppe cannot be stopped or reversed, even if people lay down their axes. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is hastening the process—in the name, he claims, of development. The ecological collapse his policies may precipitate would be felt most acutely within his country’s borders, which encircle 80% of the basin—but would go far beyond them, too. It must be averted.  — The Economist, August 1, 2019″

Concern for the Amazon

August 22, 2019 — Reduced protection of the Amazon by Brazil’s Bolsonaro government has led to sharply higher deforestation rates in 2019 and a dramatic increase in forest fires, as reported by many news organizations including the BBC and the National Geographic. A recent cover story in The Economist proclaimed “The Amazon is approaching an irreversible tipping point”.  We quote from the accompanying “leader” (editorial), titled “Deathwatch in the Amazon”, at the end of this news brief.

There is a ray of light in this bleak scenario. The Kayapo Indigenous people, in partnership with ICFC and others, continue to protect 10 million hectares (and area twice the size of Nova Scotia) from illegal logging,  gold mining, and clearing for agriculture. For decades, the Kayapo have been effective at protecting what may be the largest single tract of tropical forest anywhere in the world. Key to their success in this lawless region of high deforestation has been territorial surveillance and guard posts located on rivers and other entry points to Kayapo lands. We have stepped up our efforts this year and need your help to build additional guard posts to meet the increased challenges resulting from the lack of government enforcement. Thank you for whatever help you can provide!

Raoni

“Bolsonaro has been teh worst for us.”

Raoni Speaks Out

January 6, 2020 — The Kayapo leader Raoni Metuktire has lived through through 24 administrations of the Brazilian government since first making contact in the early 1950s with the world outside his rainforest home.  President Bolsonaro has been the worst, at least for those who care about preserving the Amazon forest and respectiing indigenous people.

In an interview with the Guardian, the Kayapó chief said he wanted to speak out about the far-right administration’s plans to allow mining in indigenous territory and he warned that Brazil’s Amazon policies threatened global efforts to protect nature and address the climate emergency.  Attitudes on the ground have quickly shifted causing a sharp increase in illegal deforestation and threats to the lives and safety of Brazil’s indigenous people.

ICFC works with the Kayapo to protect their ratified territories, which span an area the size of South Korea or Portugal.  They are wonderful partners in conservation, and while our purpose is to conserve the biodiversity they safeguard, it means a lot to us that we’re also enabling the Kayapo to preserve their traditional way of life and culture. Their lands are also crucial for protecting the vast carbon stores of the Amazon as the Amazon approaches a deforestation tipping point beyond which it will not generate sufficient rainfall to sustain itself.