Blogs

Act for the Amazon

Large areas of the Amazon rainforest are on fire, waking up the world to a calamity: no natural disaster, but part of a long-running strategy of destruction and exploitation. Bolsonaro came to power, following the imprisonment of former president Lula on corruption charges, with a clear agenda to dismantle the protection of indigenous lands. He once said, “It’s a shame that the Brazilian cavalry hasn’t been as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated the Indians”. 

The current fires were set deliberately to clear more land for agriculture, in particular cattle ranching, which is responsible for 80% of deforestation in the country. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased by two-thirds during Bolsonaro’s presidency. 

Indigenous people have as ever, been in the frontline of resistance, defending their land rights. The picture above is from the Indigenous Women March on August 13th, when almost 3000 indigenous women travelled from across Brazil to the nation's capital.

What can we do here in the UK?

The causes of the destruction are closer to home than you might think. The export market for commodities, in particular Brazilian beef, is driving deforestation. Europe is Brazil’s second biggest market for beef sales. The recently signed EU-Mercosur agreement between the EU and Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay would open EU markets to more beef imports in exchange for the export of EU cars, especially highly fuel-intensive SUVs. But the deal still needs to be approved by the European Parliament, and pressure is growing to block it.

Roads, runways, and airport expansion in the Climate Emergency era

On 18th June the Canadian Government declared a climate emergency. The next day, it approved the controversial Transmountain Pipeline Expansion. If the pipeline is built it could result in up to 600,000 barrels of oil from Alberta's tar sands passing through the port city of Burnaby in British Columbia to reach the export market. The disconnect between these two actions is staggering. It has been described as an example of rank hypocrisy, and has caused many to question whether the "climate emergency" declaration passed by the government is even worth the paper its written on. 

In light of the clear disconnect between the Canadian government's actions and its continued support for new high-carbon infrastructure projects, we thought it worth thinking about what might be happening closer to home. Across the country, local and regional governments have made declarations recognising that we are now living in a climate emergency. According to data collected by Climate Emergency UK over 100 local authorities have passed declarations in the past six months, and they have now been joined by the UK Parliament and the Scottish and Welsh Governments. Many of these declarations have been accompanied by ambitious targets for reaching net zero emissions, with nearly 70 councils setting deadlines for de-carbonisation by 2030.

Tell the government to act on the climate, not expand airports

The government is consulting on its aviation strategy up to 2050 - and it's not good news for the planet. The consultation ends Thursday 20 June (11.45pm)

They claim that the aviation sector can grow to meet rapidly increasing demand, but there's nothing to worry about as this will be 'sustainable growth'....

Unfortunately, sustainable aviation growth is an imaginary concept. In this climate emergency, the only solutions are those focus on reducing demand. Fiddling the figures and pretending everything will be ok is not an option. Can you spare 10 minutes to tell the government this?

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