OAKLAND, CA, Sept. 10, 2019 – Following dozens of demonstrations across five continents advocating for the protection and preservation of the Amazon rainforest and its indigenous peoples, Amazon Watch today released a video with highlights from the Global Day of Action for the Amazon that took place on September 5th, and launched a challenge to the global community to continue supporting the Amazon and indigenous peoples there beyond the day of action.
Christian Poirier, Program Director of Amazon Watch, said: “The global response to the Amazon fires is a ray of hope in these dark times. But one day of awareness and demonstrations is not enough to protect the Amazon and its peoples — we need sustained and concerted efforts that maintain pressure on the Bolsonaro regime and its corporate enablers. We’re calling on the world to stand up together to activate on the local, national, and global level: take personal action like eating less meat and flying less, join local climate organizations, refuse to support the multinational corporations that profit from deforestation of the Amazon, and call out the Brazilian government for promoting racist and regressive policies that destroy rainforests and harm indigenous people.”
Moira Birss, Finance Campaign Director of Amazon Watch, said: “People around the world are connecting the dots between Amazon destruction, climate change, and corporate profiteering, and it’s making a difference. Already, we’ve seen several companies and financial institutions cut ties with deforestation drivers in Brazil. But we must keep up the pressure, because the worst actors – the ‘Dirty Dozen’ financial, trading, and retail companies profiting off the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest – have yet to take action to end their complicity in Amazon destruction. Bolsonaro may not care what Macron says, but he does care with his allies in the agribusiness lobby and financial world say.”
Sônia Guajajara, Executive Coordinator of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), said: “Just getting angry on social media is not enough to address the scale of Amazon destruction we are witnessing. We need to stop this absurdity. We must get organized, get active, and join forces in defense of the Amazon and in defense of our future.”
Following reports by Amazon Watch and others, Amazon Watch and allies in the environmental justice and indigenous rights movement released a list of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ financial, trading, and retail companies profiting off the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. Since then, companies like H&M, VF Corporation, Mowi, KLP, and Storebrand, have begun to respond to public outcry and change their supply chains or investment policies. The Dirty Dozen companies must also act: Without constant international attention and scrutiny, the Brazilian government will continue to accelerate deforestation of the Amazon and evade accountability.
This past Friday, the Brazilian government and regional governments met to discuss regional cooperation for the Amazon, but failed to properly address the implications to our shared planet and appeared to value the Amazon more as a commodity than as a sacred home and vital ecosystem that must be protected.
Later this month, Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly, where he plans to discuss the Amazon fires. Activists in New York are planning to protest Bolsonaro.
It is these kinds of actions, which challenge the status quo, that will protect our future.
Amazon Watch is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. We partner with indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability and the preservation of the Amazon’s ecological systems.