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Murder in the Amazon June 22, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Brazil, Environment, Latin America.
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Dear friends,

The Amazon forest is at risk. The Brazilian Congress has
watered down strict forest protection laws and brave Brazilian
activists are being murdered for speaking out. It’s time for us to take
this critical battle global — if we all call on President Dilma to veto the
bill, we could save the Amazon


The Amazon is in serious
, the lower house of the Brazilian congress has approved a gutting
of Brazil’s forest protection laws
. Unless we act now, vast tracts of our
planet’s lungs could be opened up to clear-cutting devastation.

The move has sparked widespread anger and protests across the country. And tension is rising — in the last few weeks, several prominent environmental advocates have been murdered, purportedly by armed thugs hired
by illegal loggers. The timing is critical, they’re trying to silence criticism just as the law is discussed in the Senate. But President Dilma can veto the changes, if we can persuade her to overcome political pressure and step onto the global stage as a leader.

79% of Brazilians support
Dilma’s veto
of the forest law changes, but their voices are being
challenged by logger lobbies
. It’s now up to all of us to raise the
stakes and make Amazon protection a global issue
. Let’s come together now in
a giant call to stop the murders and illegal logging, and save the
. Sign the petition below — it’ll be delivered to Dilma when
we reach 500,000 signers:


People love Brazil! The sun, the music, the dancing, the football, the
nature — it’s a country that inspires millions around the world. This is
why Brazil is hosting the next World Cup, why Rio has the 2016 Olympics and
next year’s Earth Summit, a meeting to stop the slow death of our planet.

Our love is not misplaced — the Amazon Is vital to life on earth —
20% of our oxygen and 60% of our freshwater
comes from this magnificent
rainforest. That’s why it’s so crucial that we all protect it.

Brazil is also a rapidly developing country, battling to lift tens of
millions out of poverty, and the pressure to clear-cut and mine for profit on
its political leaders is intense
. This is why they’re dangerously close to
buckling on environmental protections. Local activists are being murdered,
intimidated and silenced, it’s up to Avaaz members across the world to stand
with Brazilians
and urge Brazil’s politicians to be strong.

Many of
us have seen in our own countries how growth often comes at the expense of our
natural heritage, our waters and air get polluted, our forests die.

Brazil, there is an alternative. Dilma’s predecessor massively reduced
and cemented the country’s international reputation as an
environmental leader, while also enjoying huge economic growth. Let’s come
together now, and urge Dilma to follow in those footstepssign the
petition to save the Amazon, then forward this email to everyone


In the last 3 years, Brazilian Avaaz members have taken massive leaps
towards the world we all want: They won landmark anti-corruption legislation,
and have lobbied their government to play a leadership role at the UN, protect
human rights and intervene to support democracy in the Middle East, and help
protect human rights in Africa and beyond.

Now, as brave Brazilian
activists are being killed
for protecting a critical global resource,
let’s come together, and build an international movement to save the
and herald Brazil as a true international leader once more. Sign
the petition, then forward this email to everyone


With hope,

Emma, Ricken, Alice, Ben, Iain, Laura, Graziela, Luis
and the rest of the Avaaz Team


BBC — Brazil
passes ‘retrograde’ forest code:

— Another Amazon activist killed in logging conflict:

— Majority of Brazilians reject changes in Amazon Forest Code:

Science Insider — Furor Over Proposed Brazilian Forest Law:

— Death in the Amazon: a war being fought for us all:

Washington Post — Brazil’s lower house approves looser forest

Brazil’s forest bill threat to Amazon

Support the Avaaz
We’re entirely funded by donations and receive no money from
governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest
contributions go a long way — donate

Avaaz.org is a 9-million-person global
campaign network
that works to ensure that the views and values of the
world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in
many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is
spread across 13 countries on 4 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn
about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on
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Humans May Have Loaded the Bases, but Nature Bats Last June 2, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Environment.
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Published on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 by the Huffington Post

  by  David Suzuki

Humanity is facing a challenge unlike any we’ve ever had to confront. We are in an unprecedented period of change. Exponential growth is causing an already huge human population to double in shorter and shorter time periods.

When I was born in 1936, just over two billion people lived on the planet. It’s astounding that the population has increased more then threefold within my lifetime. That staggering growth has been accompanied by even steeper increases in technological innovation, consumption, and a global economy that exploits the entire planet as a source of raw materials and a dumping ground for toxic emissions and waste.

If you destroy the world, you will fall with it!

We have become a new kind of biological force that is altering the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the planet on a geological scale. Indeed, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen has suggested that the current geologic period should be called the Anthropocene Epoch to reflect our new status as a global force — and a lot of scientists agree.

As noted in a recent Economist article, “Welcome to the Anthropocene,” we are altering the Earth’s carbon cycle, which leads to climate change, and we have sped up by more than 150 percent the nitrogen cycle, which has led to acid rain, ozone depletion, and coastal dead zones, among other impacts. We have also replaced wilderness with farms and cities, which has had a huge impact on biodiversity.

On top of that, according to the Economist, a “single engineering project, the Syncrude mine in the Athabasca tar sands, involves moving 30 billion tonnes of earth — twice the amount of sediment that flows down all the rivers in the world in a year.” As for those global sediment flows, the article goes on to point out that they have been cut by nearly a fifth, eroding the Earth’s deltas “faster than they can be replenished,” thanks to the almost 50,000 large dams built in the world over the past half-century.

We now occupy every continent and are exploring every nook and cranny of the Earth for new resources. The collective ecological impact of humanity far exceeds the planet’s capacity to sustain us at this level of activity indefinitely. Studies suggest it now takes 1.3 years for nature to restore what humanity removes of its renewable resources in a year, and this deficit spending has been going on since the 1980s.

For the first time in human history, we have to respond as a single species to crises of our own making. Until now, this kind of unified effort only happened in science fiction when space aliens invaded Earth. In those stories, world leaders overcame human divisions to work together against the common enemy.

Now, as comic strip character Pogo said in the ’70s (appropriately, on a poster created for Earth Day): “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Humans have long been able to affect the environment, but never before on such a scale. In the past, even people with primitive tools and weapons had impacts on local flora and fauna, as Tim Flannery outlined in The Future Eaters, and Jared Diamond described in Collapse. Diminishing resources forced people to come to grips with the need to sustain their resources or to move in search of new opportunities.

The only way to come to grips with the crises and find solutions is to understand that we are biological creatures, with an absolute need for clean air, clean water, clean food and soil, clean energy, and biodiversity. Capitalism, communism, democracy, free enterprise, corporations, economies, and markets do not alter those basic needs. After all, those are human constructs, not forces of nature. Similarly, the borders we throw up around our property, cities, states, and countries mean nothing to nature.

All the hopes that meetings such as the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and the climate conferences in Kyoto in 1997, Copenhagen in 2009, and Cancun in 2010 would help us resolve major ecological challenges will be dashed as long as we continue to put economic and political considerations above our most fundamental biological, social, and spiritual needs. We humans may be heavy hitters, but we must remember that nature bats last.

Copyright © 2011 David Suzuki


David Suzuki

David Suzuki is a well-known Canadian scientist, broadcaster and environmental activist.