Greenpeace Australia Pacific BLOG

Save the Amazon, veto the new Forest Code

Posted on December 08, 2011 by Alex Harris

Blogpost by Laura Kenyon, Greenpeace International – December 7, 2011

We are edging closer to an “ecological calamity” in the Amazon rainforest and a vote in the Brazilian Senate has pushed us closer to the brink. Yesterday it voted to approve destructive changes to the laws governing forest protection – called the Forest Code – that would open up the Amazon rainforest to rampant destruction. But it is not too late. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will have the opportunity to veto the changes – you can ask her to protect the Amazon and veto the new Forest Code.

Losing the Amazon rainforest to further deforestation would be an unimaginable loss for our planet and life on it, and the approval of this new Forest Code in Brazil would bring us one step closer to this terrible reality.

Not only is the Amazon home to one out of every ten species on the planet and important to the livelihoods of local communities, but it also functions as a carbon storage system, which can help us avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change. If deforestation and degradation of the Amazon continues increasing at the current pace the damage could actually transform the Amazon into part of the problem instead of part of the solution. The emissions from Amazon destruction contribute to a feedback cycle that will not only make climate change worse, by increasing warming trends, but cause further damage to the remaining forest, as forest fires in the region would intensify. The new Forest Code would bring us closer to this vicious cycle. Some scientists are already discussing the potential of losing the Amazon completely – imagine a world with no Amazon rainforest.

It won’t happen, because we will all keep demanding real protection for the rainforest until we get it. We know that a future free from destruction is possible, and we’ll condemn any attempts to destroy that future for the short-term profit of a few – the new Forest Code is one such attempt.

This past year the agricultural lobby pushed hard inside Brazil to weaken forest protection, many of the people pushing for these changes have been fined themselves for illegal deforestation. The result is the new Forest Code – it reduces the size of areas under protection, pardons people who deforested illegally and weakens enforcement of protection laws.

The text that has now been approved by the Senate is really bad; after the vote, Greenpeace Amazon campaign director Paulo Adario reemphasized that it opens up the rainforest to further deforestation. He also pointed out that scientists and the public prosecutors office have already said that the new Forest Code is not good for the environment and will be challenged.

There is still time to turn this situation around. You can send President Dilma an email right now and make it clear that she has a duty to protect the Amazon rainforest and veto the new Forest Code. All of us, including President Dilma, have a stake in the survival of this amazing ecosystem.

If you are looking for more information, here is the new Forest Code explained in 1 minute and 30 seconds:

TAKE ACTION: Tell President Dilma to veto the new Forest Code

Blog post by: Alex Harris
Alex Harris is the Communications Officer at Greenpeace Australia Pacific. She was also one of 30 people who were imprisoned in Russia at the end of 2013 following a peaceful protest against Arctic drilling.
All blogposts by Alex Harris
  • Valerie lack

    Please, please stop tearing down the forest. Once the trees have gone, they are gone forever. Please learn the lesson from other countries who have gone down the path of destruction, that you are now treading. So many of our modern day medicines, were discoverd in the forests of the world, it is madness to chop and burn natures chemist shop, for a very short term financial gain.
    We have gone such a long way from what is natural and it is beginning to show in the many strange illnesses we are now suffering from. Not just the elderly and infirm, but young adults with the rest of their lives before them.
    What an indictment on us all that we have allowed this state of affairs to occur.
    Bad things happen when good men, don’t stand up and speak.

  • P

    Why is the same thing repeated is my question!!!! HOW MUCH MORE DESTRUCTION DO WE HAVE TO CAUSE TO OUR PLANET!!! Before we all wake up?????!!!!