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← Protecting the Amazon Rainforest

Recorded at the 2013 Evidence and Influence Camp, Marcelo shares the evidence being collected by activists to save the Amazon rainforest; he also talks about the violent reality and the people who have died trying to achieve this.

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Showing Revision 20 created 09/16/2013 by Tanya Notley.

  1. So Marcelo, here we have the Amazon map

  2. that shows us the deforestation area data,
  3. which you are showing to us
  4. Can you explain the relationship with this data and the theme we are working on our at this Camp: "evidence and influence"?
  5. What are your thoughts on these subjects?
  6. This map is a work made with satellite images,
  7. and you are able, nowadays, to measure, for example,
  8. how much forest we have lost.
  9. Despite, that we have lost so much forest,
  10. we still have...This is still the largest tropical forest area on the planet.
  11. This forest is critical for several environmental services, mainly, those linked with the regulation of the climate,
  12. as, for exemple, with the water steam produced by the forest that is then transferred across other regions
  13. This map also excludes some evidence
  14. which we cannot see on a map of this scale
  15. and that is the 'forest degradation'.
  16. This is not the total forest area deforestation, but
  17. it is the cutting down of some forest trees or species.
  18. So, 'forest degradation' is actually linked with some specific species?
  19. Exactly, specific species, for example, that are used in the lumber industry or the coal industry.
  20. Specific species (of trees) are used for the coal industries.
  21. We have the coal industry in Brazil and some of these are
  22. producing iron ore. These industries are clearing the
  23. remains of forest areas in some regions, mainly in Pará state region.
  24. Behind this destructive work,
  25. we have a very bad, a violent reality.
  26. In fact, the greatest disputation in the Amazon, today,
  27. Is the natural resources disputation.
  28. This dispute, generally, has been carried out in a very violent way.
  29. As you can see on this map, for example,
  30. this is a 'protected areas' map,
  31. we have several protected areas and indigenous territories too.
  32. In these indigenous territories, the indigenous people
  33. have more ability to protect their areas but
  34. it is not the same in 'protected areas'.
  35. In Brazil, like in another South American countries,
  36. there are specific protected areas that are demarcated
  37. to support the survival of local communities.
  38. Those communities are vulnerable because
  39. the areas were created, but there is no governance.
  40. The government is not there helping these communities.
  41. We have a lot of different examples... I..
  42. I've lost one of my friends here, José Cláudio and Maria, his wife.
  43. She was killed because she was with him.
  44. Where did it happen?
  45. It happened in 'Nova Pichuna', in Pará state, in 2011,
  46. four months after his interview in TEDx,
  47. when he reported that he had been issued death threats.
  48. Why did he die? He died because he used to guard the forest,
  49. his piece of land, the land the government gave him.
  50. It was a tiny piece of land, with 100 ha (0.38 mi²).
  51. The lumbermen and farms in this area are looking for...
  52. the lumbermen are looking for the wood.
  53. These areas were donated by the government to the local communities for their use in sustainable practices.
  54. The farmers want to rent these lands for cattle,
  55. so they can pull together various tiny areas to make a large farm,
  56. or even, they cast out the local farmers and take their properties.
  57. My friend Jose was denouncing this and he was killed because of this.
  58. José Claudio's death was felt by a lot of Brazilian people?
  59. Activists across the whole country were moved.
  60. Because it is very hard to see threats like this one:
  61. the freedom of speech, the violence and intimidation.
  62. I've recently heard a description of a friend of mine who had participated in
  63. José Cláudio murderers' judgement and it is
  64. the politics in this Brazilian region (North).
  65. The dynamics are so local, the problems are solved by the local inhabitants (not the police)
  66. and none of the other Brazilian regions know about this violence.
  67. Where I live, we do not get a lot of these dynamics.
  68. José Cláudio's story is a emblematic case,
  69. because of the fact that his speech was made at TEDx,
  70. this made him more well known among people,
  71. a public figure: his speech is on internet,
  72. many people heard his story.
  73. Like him, we have a lot of leaders who have been murdered
  74. and they are continuously being murdered. Other people have been murdered after him,

  75. but those people are not known. So, the evidence, the big question is
  76. how to make public the stories of those people who are dying.
  77. The fact of knowing though like, in the case of José Cláudio,
  78. whose situation was more known,
  79. unfortunately, it was still not possible to prevent his death.
  80. I want to ask you. We have information and we are able to point out the problem
  81. how could we invert the dynamics and use the information we have
  82. in order to do more effective activism in these Amazon regions?
  83. I think, actually, we have information, but
  84. it is not used as it should be.
  85. We should show this more, put more pressure on the government.
  86. The government knows. The 'Comissão Pastoral da Terra' (Pastoral Land Commission),
  87. an organisation administrated by the catholic church, has a list of people under threat.
  88. If you take this list you can check like this: this one is dead, this is dead, dead....
  89. And this is unacceptable!
  90. Not just the government, but also the society has to do something about it.
  91. When we think about 'the government', we think just about the executive government,
  92. but what about the judiciary? Less than 1% these murder cases were solved.
  93. We have to change this reality.
  94. Why is it happening? Are they waiting for judgments?
  95. Or, these cases never getting into court?
  96. The police never collect enough evidence of the murders,
  97. there is corruption in the police and in the judiciary.
  98. The prosecutors who accuse are not good,
  99. they are not able to accomplish the prosecution.
  100. Then, it is not possible to point to the masterminds of the crimes, or the murderers.
  101. And It was what happened in the case of José Cláudio, right?
  102. Yes. And also the same thing happened in an even more well known case, that is the case of Sister Dorothy.
  103. In 2005, Sister (a nun) Dorothy was killed.
  104. A Sister... It is hard to talk about it.. because..
  105. She was 70 years old...
  106. She was a friend...
  107. And she has been killed with the Bible in hands, you know?
  108. We are aware of who are the masterminds..
  109. And Is not it possible to gather enough proof? Just one of them has been indicted,
  110. and that is really sad, you know? We cannot accept that! Losing friends, and....
  111. And they are people who are important to keep as this world's treasure! That is unacceptable!
  112. It is a country where a 70 year old lady, a sister, a nun died and
  113. It is not possible to prosecute the real masterminds?
  114. In the Amazon we call it a 'consortium'
  115. Usually, people are killed by a 'consortium'
  116. The most well known people, those who really generate problems.
  117. The real troubles makers are those people who work illegally (in the Amazon).
  118. What they do is to create a 'consortium' between several farmers.
  119. They get together to pay the murderers and
  120. one member of the consortium is selected to
  121. be indicted in the case that the police actually find out what happened.
  122. That is what is happening there, so
  123. there still are lots of people being threatened.
  124. Things are better in some areas. But there still are too many issues.
  125. I think that while we activists should highlight this even more
  126. José Cláudio was just one of many hidden people (under threat) and a journalist decided
  127. to bring him to TEDx and show his face and due to this
  128. it was possible for us to call people's attention to his case
  129. and at least to arrest the murderers.
  130. If it was not like that he would have been just one more statistic.
  131. So I believe that 'evidence' brings to light what is happening.
  132. And, you know how It is in this region so
  133. how do you think the local people deal with this Amazon issue,
  134. that involves politics, deforestation...?
  135. The network between these people is strong and they understand what they are doing pretty well.
  136. They know they are protecting social and human rights
  137. and also the environment.
  138. For the most part they understand the connection between the environment and human beings.
  139. There is no rupture between these two things.
  140. It is different to how farmers think, who have separated these two things
  141. They face the forest as though they are trammels.
  142. For them to develop It is necessary to take these trammels off.
  143. Another thing is that most aware people
  144. insist on staying there to keep protecting their area.
  145. Not everyone agrees in protecting themselves first, you know?
  146. Here at Camp we are in touch with lots of people
  147. from international organisations, people concerned about promoting human rights.
  148. They deal with new technologies and through this video,
  149. we have the opportunity to talk with this international community.
  150. How could these international organisations help to transform
  151. this reality that is so clear for those who work there,
  152. so as to make political action more effective, defending people from the violence
  153. and protecting against the deforestation of the Amazon?
  154. I think that they can help local organisations
  155. that are already there and are working in order to reduce the violence.
  156. They could amplify their voices,
  157. help people hear and pay attention to what is happening there.
  158. There are several local organisations.
  159. The 'Comissão Pastoral da Terra' (Pastoral Land Commission) is one of them
  160. and It could be contacted for a list of other local organisations.
  161. I should say this situation does not happen just in Brazil, It also happens in Peru.
  162. And for those who are far from Brazil,
  163. to gather information on internet about what is happening,
  164. what would be the best first step?
  165. There are these organisations that have the data,
  166. there is government data. But, it is hard to gather all the information available.
  167. Mainly, for those who are abroad, isn't it?
  168. The Brazilian Public Prosecutor also has
  169. a list of people who have been threatened in the region.
  170. The point is that there is not any campaign, national or even regional campaign
  171. which we can use to move in the direction of the disclosure of the information.
  172. I also think that organising the information would also be a way to really make a difference.