Amazon defender resigns from Brazilian government

This video is called Amazon: The lungs of our planet, by the BBC.

From Reuters:

Amazon defender quits Brazil environment post

Tue May 13, 2008

By Raymond Colitt

BRASILIA – Brazil‘s environment minister, hailed as a champion of the green movement but scorned by powerful farming groups, resigned on Tuesday after losing key battles in her efforts to protect the Amazon rain forest.

Marina Silva’s resignation is likely to reinforce the view that President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is more concerned with economic development than conservation as a commodities export boom fuels Brazil‘s growth.

It could also be a setback for Brazil’s ambitions to become a major voice in global environmental debates.

“Her resignation is a disaster for the Lula administration. If the government had any global credibility in environmental issues, it was because of minister Marina,” said Jose Maria Cardoso da Silva, environmental group Conservation International‘s vice president for South America.

See also here. And here.

Update August 2009: here.

Gilberto Gil interview: here.

Bossa Nova pioneer, songwriter and musician João Gilberto dead at 88: here.

Insect Biodiversity in Amazon May Be Result of Ice Age Climate Change And Ancient Flooding, Not River Barriers: here.

Lula’s Green Light for Monsanto Has Flooded Brazil with GMO Soya & Increased Amazon Deforestation: here.

The life and legacy of Chico Mendes: here.

Brazil: Great land giveaway could be disaster for Amazon: here.

5 thoughts on “Amazon defender resigns from Brazilian government

  1. Brazil throws weight behind Amazon soy ban

    Wed Jun 18, 2008 1:20am EDT

    By Ana Nicolaci da Costa

    BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s new environment minister reached an agreement with the grain processing industry to ban purchases of soy from deforested Amazon until July 2009, winning praise from environmentalists.

    “This same initiative will be extended to two other sectors — the timber sector and the beef sector,” Environment Minister Carlos Minc said while praising the grain industry and non-governmental organizations for a “pioneering” initiative.

    Environmentalists called Minc’s initiative essential to the protection of the world’s largest rainforest. Deforestation in the region quickened in the past months as world grain prices continue to set record highs.

    The moratorium is a commitment by the local Vegetable Oils Industry Association (Abiove), which includes big crushers such as Cargill Inc, Bunge Ltd, ADM Co and Louis Dreyfus, and the Grain Exporters Association (Anec) to extend the expiring, one-year ban that began in July 2006.

    Rising prices are reviving the local soy sector out of its worst crisis in decades. In 2004 through 2006, the rise in the real against the dollar and production costs like fuel and fertilizers pushed many producers to the brink of insolvency.

    Brazil is the world’s second largest soy producer after the United States. Abiove and Anec control about 94 percent of Brazil’s soy trade.

    “The decision today is very important as it shows a leading sector in Brazilian agribusiness can guarantee food production without the need to cut down one more hectare of Amazon,” Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon campaign director, said in a note.

    Deforestation of the Amazon is on course to rise after three years of declines, with figures for April released earlier this month showing a startling 434 square miles of trees lost in the month.

    Minc replaced Amazon defender Marina Silva as environment minister last month, raising concern among environmentalists that the government is siding with farming and industrial interests that want to develop the forest.

    In a show of commitment to Amazon protection, the government unveiled initiatives in past weeks including the creation of three protected reserves and an operation to impound cattle grazing on illegally cleared pastures.

    But Greenpeace said a one year extension may not be long enough to build the tools necessary to ensure that soy production does not result in further deforestation.

    (Additional Reporting by Inae Riveras in Sao Paulo; Editing by Reese Ewing and Bill Trott)

    © Thomson Reuters 2008



    Brazil’s Xingu River Dam to Damn Amazon Rainforests and Peoples

    By Rainforest Portal, and
    Water Conserve,
    June 30, 2008

    The wild and free Xingu River is critical to maintaining
    intact the Amazon, its peoples and the Earth we share

    The Brazilian government is planning to build what would be
    the world’s third largest dam on the Xingu River in the
    Brazilian Amazon. The Xingu River in northeast Brazil is a
    tributary of the Amazon River. The Belo Monte Dam, meant
    principally to fuel the expansion of aluminum foundries and
    other industrial plants in the Amazon, would require diverting
    nearly the entire flow of the Xingu, drying up the “Big Bend”
    of the Xingu and its tributary, the Bacajá, home to hundreds
    of indigenous people. Native people upstream would also be
    affected by the dam´s impacts on fish stocks, their principal
    food source. In May, one thousand indigenous people, in
    addition to social movements and environmentalists gathered in
    the town of Altamira, on the Xingu River, to protest the plans
    for Belo Monte and other dams on the Xingu. Please tell
    Brazil´s President Lula and other decision makers in the
    Brazilian government that you support the position of
    indigenous peoples of the rainforest – that Brazil has better
    ways of providing its future energy needs than destroying the
    mighty Xingu River and ancient Amazon rainforests.



  3. Brazil national parks mismanaged and raided: govt

    Tue Jul 8, 2008 3:53pm EDT

    By Raymond Colitt

    BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s nature reserves, which harbor much of the world’s biodiversity, are grossly mismanaged, underfunded, and often ransacked by intruders, the environment minister said on Tuesday.

    Nature reserves account for more than eight percent of Brazil’s vast territory, an area equal to the U.S. state of Texas. Brazil also claims to have the world’s largest forested national park, the Tumucumac park in Amapa state with 3.8 million hectares (9.39 million acres).

    But several of Brazil’s parks, which harbor treasures from the Amazon forest or the Pantanal wetlands, are sanctuaries not for wildlife but illegal loggers, miners and ranchers.

    Of 299 protected areas, 57 percent have no permanent law enforcement officials, 76 percent have no management plan, and nearly one-third have no manager, an internal study showed.

    “We discovered a very serious problem and we called the public to show this ecological striptease,” Environment Minister Carlos Minc told a news conference in Brasilia.

    “The current situation is not sustainable,” he added.

    In the Bom Futuro or “Good Future” National Park in northwestern Rondonia state, around 1,600 wildcat miners, farmers, loggers, and ranchers are raiding natural resources.

    In some years the rate of deforestation in protected areas of the Amazon was higher than in unprotected areas, Minc said.


    In reserves where limited hunting, fishing, or farming is permitted, people “live in misery” because there is no proper planning, management or control, said Minc, the co-founder of Brazil’s Green Party.

    The World Bank, Global Environmental Fund, WWF and KfW, the German development bank, together have pledged around $200 million to a government-run project to create new parks and better manage existing ones. The Arpa project, which began in 2003, operates in 60 parks, mostly in Amazon states.

    Minc, who replaced former rubber tapper Marina Silva as environment minister six weeks ago, pledged to fill vacant management posts this month, train inspectors by November, and put 4 million hectares (9.9 million acres) of forest reserves up for sustainable management by timber companies.

    The government also wants to expand eco-tourism in more outlying regions. The famed Iguacu waterfalls on the border with Argentina and Rio de Janeiro’s statue of Christ the Redeemer account for 95 percent of the 3.5 million visitors to national parks.

    The departure of Silva, seen as a guardian of the Amazon, had raised concern among environmental groups over rising deforestation rates.

    Since then, Minc has spearheaded a series of crackdowns on illegal soybean farmers, loggers and ranchers.

    But experts say better conservation requires additional funds and logistics. In many reserves, park guards are far outnumbered by heavily armed and well equipped intruders. The guards often lack vehicles, gasoline, and guns.

    “The problem is disorganization,” said Sylvana Canuto, head of the government’s Chico Mendes Foundation, charged with overseeing the reserves.

    (Editing by Stuart Grudgings and Sandra Maler)


  4. Pingback: Save Ecuadorian rainforest | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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