Deforestation is one of the root causes of our climate crisis. Tropical deforestation accounts for approximately 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the world’s entire transport sector, so tackling deforestation is key.
The Amazon is estimated to store between 80-120 billion tons of carbon. It is also home to more than 20 million people, including over 200,000 people from 180 different indigenous nations. It is the most bio-diverse region in the world!
Despite all this, deforestation continues at a breathtaking pace. One fifth of the Amazon has already been destroyed forever. If current rates of land clearing continue, the Amazon will be gone within fifty years.
Brazil is the fourth-largest climate polluter in the world, largely due to deforestation of the Amazon, where cattle ranches occupy 80% of all cleared areas. Following the release of Greenpeace’s report, Slaughtering the Amazon, and their campaign exposing the links between cattle ranching in the Amazon region and deforestation, big supermarket chains such as Wal-Mart and Carrefour and international shoe companies, like Nike, Adidas, Clarks, Geox and Timberland, have all made it clear they would not purchase leather or meat from the Brazilian slaughterhouses unless the suppliers could prove they were not sourcing from newly deforested areas.
More recently, Greenpeace activists protested against plans for the world’s third-largest hydroelectric dam to be built in the Amazon rainforest. Brazil awarded building rights for the US$11-17 billion project in the heart of the Amazon, on the Xingu River in the northern state of Para, amid outcry over the environmentally destructive impacts of the dam and displacement of indigenous people. The chosen site is an almost untouched island among so many devastated areas. Greenpeace activists sent a clear message that the dam will cause droughts along the 100 km of the Xingu River, displace thousands of indigenous people, and accelerate destruction of the rainforest.
Greenpeace’s Amazon Forest campaign team has worked tirelessly this year protecting the intact forests of the Amazon Basin and The Intrepid Foundation has provided financial support to help Greenpeace carry out this important work.
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* photo © Greenpeace