The Amazonian Rainforests are on Fire!

Project location: Various Countries, Amazonia
Project start date: n/a - Project end date: n/a

Amazonia the time to act is now!

We all have different paths, different trades and professions, different life experiences and different daily responsibilities. But we all have one thing in common: we all have hearts and souls, we all live on this planet and we should all have an opinion how we can work together to improve everybody’s lives and the world around us.

My heart and soul are with Amazonia and her people: in my opinion, we cannot leave Amazonia's destiny merely in the hands of future generations. The disaster is not “yet to come”, it is already here. Throughout my 80 years on this beautiful planet, I have witnessed how we have degraded nature as we have become more and more distant with our natural environments.  As many of us, I have lived with the illusion that the future holds the promise of better well-being. But I have increasingly realised that the future does not look promising at all and that we need to recognise our existence as humans relies on the cycle that brings us all together in what we call life. 

The time to act is now: I reaffirm my commitment to fight deforestation - and the human rights abuses that come along with it - in the most biodiverse area of the world and invite you to do the same.

Amazonia can no longer be perceived as an endless source of natural resources that exist exclusively to satisfy human needs. This irrational obsession with an idea of development that does not consider environmental and social costs has brought us close to a boundary that we should be afraid of crossing.  To face this critical point collectively, we must begin by understanding that the current lack of law enforcement in the region inevitably endangers the Amazonian population and the environment itself.

Brazil serves as a clear example of how criminal acts, such as corruption, represent a threat to Amazonia's preservation, with personal interests prevailing over the common good. This worrying issue will probably remain if corruption continues to occur in this context of generalized impunity, with relevant institutions endorsing this negative behavior and neglecting their role in protecting Amazonia. The rainforest is being burned, polluted with oil, damaged permanently with toxic waste and progressively degraded by extractive industries. The most biodiverse natural reserve and the most significant source of oxygen of the world are dying before our eyes. At this pace, it is just a matter of very very short time before it is gone forever.

On the other hand, the lack of law enforcement, the rampant impunity and the declared interest of the Brazilian Government to perpetuate colonisation compromises the very existence of Amazonian inhabitants. The indigenous population of the rainforest has historically been dispossessed from their cultural heritage and ancestral territories. These actions have been justified by the need of "natural resources" derived from their lands. Brazil’s current policies are perpetuating these practices by systematically depriving indigenous peoples of their territory and the preservation of their culture under the excuse of integrating them into the project of progress and development. The deforestation of Amazonia is a human rights, humanitarian and environmental problem that is driven by an unsustainable colonialist model. 

The Amazon rainforest belongs to the indigenous peoples who live there, every country that has jurisdiction over that territory and humanity as a whole. As a citizen of this world, I am obliged to express my concern for its future. To safeguard that future, we must end impunity and achieve justice for violations of the forest and its people. We are currently facing a global pandemic that has challenged our capacity of collaborating with others, unveiling our weaknesses and most profound mistakes. At the same time, experts are saying Amazonia could face the worst season of deforestation and fires in its history. These terrible omens require commitment, political responsibility, empathy, and accountability for them not to become a reality.

It takes a sustained commitment from the Governments of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, as well as from the international community and civil society to join the cause. I personally commit myself to this cause, not only by raising my voice but also by making an economic contribution. I invite everyone to donate to the Amazonia Emergency Fund, of which the organisation No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) is a member of the Founding Solidarity Circle. I am grateful for all the brilliant initiatives that have shown a strong commitment to stopping the deforestation and violations. Actions like the one carried out by Artists United for Amazonia are genuinely inspiring and necessary for achieving our final goal. Each of us can make contributions depending on our own circumstances, so I encourage everyone to be part of this much needed change. 

Everyone's testimony and actions serve to awaken our responsibility as human beings. The time to join forces is now. Defense of Amazonia and its inhabitants is not a responsibility we should start living up to tomorrow. We are linked to nature because we are part of it and we must never forget that burning the Amazon is ultimately burning us all.

Elsa Peretti


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