Amazon roundup

Thursday, 18 September, 2014

Thought we’d round up what seems like a lot of news from the Amazon in our feeds today - sadly, little of it good.

Amazon watch, source of all these stories, recently issued a press release about a “message to world leaders” delivered in a petition by indigenous and grassroots leaders presented at the Global Climate Summmit. The goal of the release was an optimistic one: 

“Amazonian indigenous peoples and grassroots social movements are leading the call to develop real solutions to climate change, including the imperative to leave two-thirds of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground, starting with the Amazon.” 

More on that here.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, a story with mixed outcomes. The announcement of an auction for a new Amazon “Mega-dam” provoked incensed reactions from NGOs and indigenous representatives, and particularly from those living on and around the Tapajós River, where the dam is mooted. The bone of contention here is the claim that the plan flouts legal requirements for consultations with threatened communities. Yesterday, we learnt that the auction has been suspended [ so perhaps this is one situation that promises a better outcome.

Over to Peru, then, where the dark side of land issues is depressingly apparent. There, people are asking how the government will respond to the assassinations of indigenous leaders, “widely believed to have been killed by loggers” near the Brazil border as what appears to be one outcome of an ongoing conflict over logging and land rights.

Finally, Brazil brings us the one note of unalloyed positivity in a rather dark symphony. There, deforestation has been “halted" after arrests by the Public Prosecutor in Pará state. The Prosecutor has told the Anadolu news agency that deforestation has been reduced to zero in areas covered by an operation targeting key business figures behind illegal logging, which has apparently “netted critical arrests.”