Good News

1.4 million Brazilians co-sign zero deforestation bill submitted to Brazil's Congress

13th October 2015 / Mike Gaworecki

For the past three years, Greenpeace Brazil has been collecting signatures in support of a bill that would establish zero deforestation as the law of the land.

Last Wednesday, accompanied by a crew of religious leaders, celebrities, senators and other supporters of a ban on the felling of Brazil's forests, the activist group formally presented the draft legislation to the Brazilian Congress - signed by 1.4 million Brazilians.

"We submit this bill to Congress and now it's time for them to reflect on the will of the people," Greenpeace's Cristiane Mazzetti said in a statement.

Brazil Deforestation

"I signed the petition in 2012 and I admit that I was anxious to see it completed," Senator João Capiberibe said in a statement. "This is certainly an important step toward the objective of zero deforestation in Brazil and then beginning a new project for developing the country, one that is not based on environmental destruction."

A recent analysis by Paulo Moutinho of the Amazon Environmental Research Institute and Steve Schwartzman of the Environmental Defense Fund supports Greenpeace's assertion that zero deforestation is entirely possible for Brazil to achieve without foregoing economic growth.

"Brazil succeeded in reducing Amazon deforestation by more than 80% since 2005 while maintaining robust growth in beef and soy production," Moutinho and Schwarzman write. "There are at least about 56,000 km2 of degraded cattle pasture in the Amazon that can be reclaimed for agriculture, as well as ample scope for intensifying cattle raising and improving yields, freeing up even more land."

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has pledged to eliminate illegal deforestation and restore 12 million hectares (about 30 million acres) of forest by 2030 as part of broader efforts to combat climate change, itself a major threat to the wellbeing of tropical rainforests the world over.

But zero illegal deforestation by 2030 is a "considerably less ambitious goal" than many Brazilian states have already proposed for themselves, Moutinho and Schwarzman say.

Pará, for example, a major agricultural state, has adopted a target of 80 percent deforestation reduction by 2020 and zero net deforestation thereafter. And Acre state, which still retains nearly 90 percent of its original forest cover, "is already implementing the most ambitious and successful system of payment for environmental services in the tropical world focusing on forest conservation," Moutinho and Schwarzman write.

Greenpeace and other forest advocates, like Bishop Guilherme Antônio Werlang, want Brazil's federal government to take those ambitious efforts as examples and commit to swifter action to end deforestation of the Amazon altogether.

"We have to change the economic model and create the Brazil that we want," Werlang said in Greenpeace's statement about the delivery of the zero deforestation bill to Congress. "It is an important time for us to continue to press forward, not only for small changes, but to consider a profound change."

Brazil Deforestation
Congressman Jose Sarney Filho, president of the Parliamentary Front Environmentalist, receives 1.4 million signed petitions in support of the Zero Deforestation bill. October 7, 2015, Brasília - DF. © Adriano Machado / Greenpeace. Brazil Deforestation
Bishop Guilherme Antonio Werlang recalled that Pope Francis recommended the defense of forests in his papal encyclical. October 7, 2015, Brasília - DF. © Adriano Machado / Greenpeace. Brazil Deforestation
To represent the more than 1.4 million people who signed in favor of the project, activists set up a wall, with boxes containing signatures, formed with about 6000 photos of those who participated in the movement. October 7, 2015, Brasília - DF. © Adriano Machado / Greenpeace. Brazil Deforestation
To represent the more than 1.4 million people who signed in favor of the project, activists set up a wall, with boxes containing signatures, formed with about 6000 photos of those who participated in the movement. October 7, 2015, Brasília - DF. © Adriano Machado / Greenpeace.

Source for this article: http://news.mongabay.com

good news!