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While We Watch Our Forests Burn, Understand Why Climate Activism Is Necessary

During the biggest sanitary crises of the century, Brazil also faces the destruction of important ecosystems. The Amazon Rainforest and the Pantanal have been the focus of fires, with record breaking numbers of affected areas. Pará, Amazonas and Mato Grosso are the states with the biggest quantity of heat points, however, Pantanal is the most jeopardized.

The region has been going through a historic drought. Nonetheless, even if it was known that during this period the region suffers with fires, the government didn’t do anything to prevent the flames in our ecosystems. Besides, the increased of illegal burning to create cattle pastures is one of the main reasons why 2020 surpassed the record of fires in one year before it even ended. For these reasons, we need to talk about the importance of climate activism.

The Clock Is Ticking  

Many scientific studies have proven that the lifestyle of urban-industrial societies is completely unsustainable and urgent measures need to be taken. This is where climate activism comes in. With the goal of mobilizing the population and the authorities to climate change and environmental preservation, the movement is crucial to improve the planet’s condition.

The Metronome’s digital clock, in the Union Square, New York, has been reprogrammed to count down the time the world has left to act against global warming, before its effects become irreversible. According to this clock, humanity has only 7 years to reverse climate change.

Greta Thunberg And Her Powerful Activism

Greta Thunberg is one of the most important names when it comes to environmental activism nowadays. The 17-year-old Swedish activist is the leader of the world movement Fridays for Future. “Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”, said Greta in a speech for the United Nations Climate Action Summit.

The Fridays for Future movement started in 2018, when Greta was only 15 years-old and decided to begin a strike for climate. She started alone, but inspired many other younger people and aspiring activists to be part of this initiative.

Indigenous Rights In Brazil

In Brazil, it is impossible to separate climate activism from the fight for indigenous rights. The crimes against these communities are increasingly more due to the advancing of loggers, “land grabbers” and others interested in profiting from the Amazon Rainforest.

“Our territories correspond to the greatest deforestation brakes. The self-demarcation shows how organized we are in defense of our turf. The current moment is of union and of strengthening alliances in defense of life. There is an urgent need for climate justice”, said Hamangaí Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe, indigenous environmental and human rights activist.

For Hamangaí, the strikes and movements inspired by Greta are very important, however, even more mobilization is needed. “We must rethink our individual and collective habits and we can’t remain silent in the face of the attacks that have been causing serious impacts on our biodiversity, seas, rivers and forests”, she concluded.

Demand Political Actions!

While the forests burn, firefighting had a cut of 29,7%. ICMBio (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation) and Ibama (Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) also suffered budget blocks and run the risk of not having resources until the end of the year.

The burned area in Pantanal in 2020 exceeds 10 times the area of natural vegetation lost in 18 years. The fire has already destroyed 85% of the Encontro das Águas State Park, haven of the spotted jaguar, according to Inpe (National Space Research Institute). Until 2018, Pantanal was the most preserved biome in the country, but, because of the government’s indifference towards the fires, 23 thousand km² of the ecosystem has been destroyed.

This is why climate activism is extremely important, it aims at ways to mobilize and demand political actions in order to defend the Earth from environmental disasters. It’s an approach to raise awareness and warn society that nature can’t be explored as if it was infinite, because it is not.

How To Help

HC gathered some petitions, funds and non-profits organizations you can help. If you can’t donate, spread the word, read and fight for our climate and our planet when you can, because there’s no Planet B, so we need to take care of this one.

SOS Pantanal

A non-profit organization that monitors the life of Pantanal and disseminate the biome’s nature and culture. You can follow them on social media here, and make a donation if possible here. The money raised is going exclusively to the combat of fires in the region.    

Found out more.

GreenPeace

An international non-profit organization with offices in more than 55 countries around the world. For GreenPeace Brasil you can donate for multiple environmental causes, such as Protect Amazon Rainforest from fires, Protect Biodiversity, Climate Emergency, and more. If you can’t donate, you can sign this petition to help Amazon Rainforest.

To find out more and donate to causes closer to your home, you can visit their international website.

Fridays For Future

A climate strike movement started by Greta Thunberg. If you like, you can check out their website for readings on climate change, and more information about the strikes near you. You can also follow FFF on Instagram.  

Read, spread the word, donate and help as you can. Our planet needs you and climate activism may be the best way to get to those in power and demand change. 

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The article above was edited by Laura Enchioglo

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Amanda Moraes

Casper Libero '23

majoring in journalism
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