ACTION ALERT: Demand US Companies Stop Contributing to Amazon Rainforest Destruction
Daily Kos / Action Network Petition
(July 28, 2020) — The fires that devastated the Amazon in the summer of 2019 were no accident. Most were deliberately set to clear land in the rainforest for agricultural purposes. But while Americans were outraged by images of the fires in the news and on social media, there’s evidence that development in the Amazon is fueled, in part, by their own consumer dollars.
A new report shows for the first time how firms that fuel the destruction of the Brazilian Amazon openly trade with and receive financing from a range of companies and major investors in the US Although these producers of soy, cattle, and timber for export have documented links to illegal deforestation, corruption, slave labor, and other crimes, they nonetheless do business with investors and companies based in America.
This means US companies are not only financing rainforest destruction, they also financed the disastrous Amazon fire.
We cannot continue to support the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
American based companies like Cargill, JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, among others, are in dealings with or bankroll the bad-acting Brazilian companies.
The Amazon rainforest, or “the lungs of the world”, is in serious danger, and American companies are supporting that destruction. We must take urgent action to preserve our rainforests or cause irreversible damage to our planet.
We must demand US based companies divest and/or stop bankrolling Brazilian companies that are the source of the destruction.
ACTION: Sign the petition: Demand US companies stop financing Amazon destruction.
Complicity in Destruction II: How Northern Consumers and Financiers Enable Bolsonaro’s Assault on the Brazilian Amazon
As the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon provides 20% of our oxygen, houses 10% of the planet’s biodiversity, and helps stabilize the global climate. The world needs it to survive. None understand this better than the indigenous peoples and traditional communities who call it home, and are proven to be its best stewards.
Despite their importance, the Brazilian Amazon and its peoples are suffering the worst assault in a generation. Deforestation is mounting dramatically while hard-fought environmental and human rights protections, critical to the future of the rainforest, are under serious attack. Indigenous peoples and traditional communities themselves suffer disproportionate violence and repression for defending their rights and forests.
The ascension of the extreme right-wing politician Jair Bolsonaro to Brazil’s presidency profoundly exacerbates the country’s environmental and human rights crisis. Since taking power, his government has slashed socio- environmental standards that are fundamental to preserving the Amazon’s ecological integrity and the well-being of forest peoples. Bolsonaro’s severe policy rollbacks are occurring in the context of a generalized attack on the country’s democratic principles and institutions.
A dominant, conservative faction of the country’s powerful agro-industrial sector known as the “ruralistas” is helping drive Bolsonaro’s Amazon agenda. Working from within Bolsonaro’s government, industry representatives are stripping protections for forests and land rights in order to gain unfettered access to areas currently safeguarded from industrial activity. Their success would spell disaster for Brazil’s Amazonian forests and the indigenous and traditional peoples who call them home, while jeopardizing the global climate.
The political and economic power that sustains these retrograde actors is provided in large part by global market actors: commodity traders, financiers and consumers. European and North American businesses that finance and source from Brazilian businesses connected with today’s rollbacks therefore enable Brazil’s socio-environmental landscape to be reshaped to our collective detriment.
The crises facing the Amazon require innovative solutions that address the root of the problem. By identifying the worst actors operating in the Brazilian Amazon and the global companies and financial institutions that enable them, we can build new forms of leverage over these actors and press for reform and accountability on the part of the Bolsonaro regime.
To challenge adversaries in the federal government and private sector, Brazil’s National Indigenous Mobilization (MNI) has called for a global boycott of Brazilian commodities associated with human rights abuses and environmental destruction. The MNI requests solidarity from international community to support these efforts, which aim to leverage global markets in order to moderate the behavior of the agroindustrial sector, as a means to halt Bolsonaro’s assault, ultimately protecting and restoring environmental safeguards and human rights.
Global solidarity with Brazil’s movement for social and environmental justice is more critical now than ever. While we acknowledge the North’s oversize role in environmental mismanagement, human rights abuses, and climate change, we believe that through informed choices, the European and North American private sector and engaged citizens in the region can considerably influence the destructive agenda of the Bolsonaro government.
The Amazon Rainforest Sustains Life on Earth. Hosting 20% of its owing freshwater, the planet’s largest rainforest drives weather patterns and stabilizes the global climate. The wellbeing of this forest, and that of its guardians from indigenous and traditional communities, is therefore indispensable to our collective future.
What happens to this global treasure is up to all of us. While the Amazon’s health depends upon the stewardship of the nine countries that share this 5.5 million-square-kilometer biome, the role of global markets — from commodity traders to financiers to consumers — directly implicate us in its fate.
Today, the Amazon’s irreplaceable ecosystems are under immense threat, driven primarily by a handful of industrial interests, industry-beholden governments, and organized crime. Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil provides a grim case study in this reality.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has steadily risen since 2012, while the country’s socio-environmental safeguards grew increasingly precarious, particularly under the government of Michel Temer from 2016 through 2018. Under Bolsonaro’s watch, deforestation has already spiked 54%. Throughout this period, conservative actors within Brazil’s powerful agribusiness sector have played a central role in shifting policies to facilitate the expansion of industry into protected areas.
The Bolsonaro regime now threatens to cement a significant rollback on human rights and ecological protections led by cabinet members serving as political operatives for the country’s agribusiness and mining sectors.
Their conduct endangers the Amazon and is predicated on the belief that international consumers and financial institutions will continue to do business with these industrial actors — including those criminally destroying the rainforest — regardless of their behavior.
As is true with other autocratic governments, one cannot look to the Bolsonaro regime itself for remedy. The ability to forge change comes instead from leveraging the global markets that sustain the Brazilian economy, particularly its strategic agro-industrial sector, given its reliance on lucrative export commodities and foreign investment.
This report examines how some of the worst actors operating in the Brazilian Amazon — which have documented links to illegal deforestation, corruption, slave labor, and other crimes — openly trade with and receive financing from a range of companies in Europe and North America. By analyzing 56 Brazilian companies that were fined for environmental crimes in the Amazon since 2017, and identifying a range of northern commercial interests that do business with them, this report demonstrates the complicity of global actors with this kind of egregious behavior, increasingly becoming the norm under the Bolsonaro regime.
The private sector offers one of the few checks available on those intent on devastating the Brazilian Amazon for short-term economic and political gain. If we do not exercise our influence over these actors we will collectively pay the price. Read the rest of this extensive report at this link.
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