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STUDENTS LAUNCH MANIFESTO IN DEFENSE OF THE AMAZON

“The forest is alive. It can only die if the white people persist in destroying it. If they succeed, the rivers will disappear underground, the soil will crumble, the trees will shrivel up, and the stones will crack in the heat. The dried-up earth will become empty and silent.” (The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami Shaman, Davi Kopenawa)

 

This manifesto begins with the words of Davi Kopenawa, to alert not only the Students Movement, but the entire civil society, about the great environmental impacts that have caused the mass destruction of the environment.

The Amazon has always been the object of greed on the part of predatory capitalism. From colonization to the present day, our forests are seen as a territory of exploitation. The narrative of the need for large projects in the Amazon is historical, having as current examples the construction of Belo Monte and the expansion of mining companies. The largest natural biome in the world, concentrated in Brazil, is having its existence threatened by the logic of profit and income.

One of the causes of this environmental impact is the large fires in the Amazon forest, generated by the unbridled deforestation of agribusiness. In 2019 alone, there was an 80% increase in the number of fires in the Brazilian Amazon, the highest rate since 2013; Pará was the state with the highest number of fires in 2019, according to INPE.

Bolsonaro’s nomination of Ricardo Salles as Minister of the Environment was not a coincidence. His first steps as minister were the gigantic cuts in the Amazon protection agencies, such as ICMBio and Ibama, generating impacts on their inspection operations. In addition, this minister, who has already been convicted in São Paulo for forging documents for the benefit of mining companies, continues to be complicit in the world’s largest environmental and social crime in Brumadinho/Minas Gerais, with more than 300 deaths, helping to guarantee Vale’s impunity.

Bolsonaro is a great ally of the most barbaric sectors of capitalism, and he has already said, in no uncertain terms, that he does not care about the environment.

Alerts on environmental risks

The great smoke that darkened the sky of the state of São Paulo on August 16 was an alert of the effects of the destruction of the Amazon. The Amazon has been burning continuously in Rondônia since August 1. Acre and Amazonas are already on alert. Mato Grosso do Sul has already stated that it has no structure to control the fires.

Bolsonaro wanted to blame the NGOs for the fires. In fact, farmers in southern Pará organized a weekend of intense burning, encouraged by a president who denies global warming and all that was researched by science in Brazil and the world.

The struggle in defense of the Amazon is urgent and of all people

Brazil under the Bolsonaro government is going through a chaotic moment of threats, cuts and withdrawals of rights. On the one hand, education is constantly being threatened with cuts of more than R$ 6 billion. On the other, there is the reform of the social security system, which removes the prospect of retirement for Brazilian workers. From here, we see our “Matria Verde” being consumed by fire.

These are lives that are being attacked in this devastation of the Amazonian forests and rivers, such as that of the indigenous peoples, quilombolas [those who live in communities formerly organized by fugitive slaves] and riverbank dwellers, who are in a constant battle to preserve the environment and demarcate their lands, which are survival territories for these peoples and for nature.

Students from many countries around the world have already conveyed the message: we will not be the generation that will allow capitalism to destroy our planet. That’s why we called, all over Brazil, for the Global Climate Strike on September 20. More than ever, the Amazon needs Brazilian students, and the whole world!

Do you want to organize the struggle in your city, university or school? Get in touch with us. Put up posters, take pictures, record videos. Let’s flood the networks and streets in defense of the Amazon.

 

“At first I thought I was fighting to save rubber trees,
Then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest.
Now I realize I am fighting for humanity.” (Chico Mendes)

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