LISTEN: Saulo Araujo On Bolsonaro’s Election & The Future Of Brazil’s Environment

This week’s Earth Watch guest on the Sojourner Truth Radio Show was 
Saulo Araujo, Global Movements Program Director for Why Hunger.  

From Sojourner Truth:

For our Weekly Earth Watch, the dire environmental implications of the election in Brazil, Latin America’s most populous nation and where the world’s lungs are located — 60 percent of the world’s rainforest is in the Amazon. Brazil’s newly elected president, Jair Bolsonaro, is far to the right of even Donald Trump. Among other things, Bolsonaro says he will lift ecological regulations on agribusiness, giving companies far greater leeway to plunder natural resources, including in the Amazon rainforest and other Indigenous lands. We speak to Saulo Araujo, Global Movements Program Director at WhyHunger.

The Sojourner Truth Radio Show airs every week on KPFK-FM in Los Angeles and around the world online. Global Justice Ecology Project arranges the regular Earth Watch guests. 

Althought Bolsonaro won the election, there are still ways for your voice to be heard.  Global Justice Ecology Project supports the following petition against the merger of Brazil’s ministry of Environment with that of Agriculture provided by The Environmental Paper Network.

The new ultra-right president-elect of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, announced that he plans to merge the Ministry of Environment with the Ministry of Agriculture. The Ministry of Environment has the crucial task of protecting Brazil’s biodiverse ecosystems against, among other things, agribusiness, represented by the Ministry of Agriculture. Its such a recipe for disaster that both the curent Minister of Environment and of Agriculture (Blairo Maggi, a bog soy producer himself) have already spoken out against the plans, as have of course environmental organizations like Greenpeace and WWF.
Please take a minute and sign the petition against the merger! The text of the Petition is here, and you can cign by clicking on the green button on the right that says Assinar Peticao. You will receive an email to confirm your signature, which you can do by clicking on the second link. 
Sorry its all in Portuguese.Below is a translation of the text of the petition:

Translation of the petition

No to the merger of the Ministry of Environment with the Ministry of Agriculture.

To: The Federal Government of Brazil, The Federal Supreme Court, The Public Prosecutor’s Office, The Chamber of Deputies of Brazil, The President-elect Jair Messias Bolsonaro, Deputy Antonio Hamilton Martins Mourão and economist Paulo Roberto Nunes Guedes.

The president-elect said in a press interview at his home on 10/24/2018, that he could review the plans for the merger of the ministry of environment with that of agriculture, after saying:

” I am a person who is open to dialogue. It could be that we do not proceed with this proposal. I want what’s best for the agrobusiness and for the environment.”

As he is open to dialogue, we listed some reasons for not merging these two ministries:

1) The Ministry of the Environment (MMA) has as its mission to promote the adoption of principles and strategies to increase knowledge, protection and recovery of the environment, the sustainable use of natural resources, valorization of environmental services and integration of sustainable development in the formulation and implementation of public policies at all levels and instances of government and society, proving to be an extremely strategic ministry for the preservation and development of our country.

2) Take into account Bolsonaro’s quote ”I think it is a very heavy ministry, the environmental ministry would be overwhelmed to be accumulated by the ministry of agriculture, the country is continental, 8 million square kilometers” in fact it is extremely difficult to take care of such a large area, so it is unfeasible to include it within another ministry.

3) Take into consideration the programs that this ministry has already elaborated such as: Plan of Action for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon (PPCDAm), which promoted an 84% reduction in deforestation in 2012 compared to 2004, the year of its implementation , the Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation and Burning in the Cerrado (PPCerrado) that protects our second largest biome.

4) Remember that the deficit in the welfare budget can not be a reason for the environmental degradation of our country.

5) Thanks to environmental policies, Brazil was able to reduce 76.7% of CO² emissions in the land use and forest sector between 2005 and 2010.

6) Remember that Brazil has more than 100,000 species of invertebrates and about 8,200 vertebrates that need to be protected.

7) Remember that Brazil has the world’s largest biodiversity, with 41,000 cataloged species, this biodiversity must be protected for economic and scientific development.

8) Remember that the budget of the Ministry of the Environment (MMA) with the expenses for the implementation of public policies in 2017 was R$ 1,043.4 million (USD 280 mln), when compared to the deficit of the social security programs of 2019 of R$ 218 billion (USD 56 bln). Therefore, it would not be fair for this ministry to be reduced to control public accounts.

9) There was no plebiscite to consult the population on this change.

Sources:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=60&v=FFLqeQZ_pMc
http://www.mma.gov.br/mma-em-numeros.html

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