New data showed that deforestation rates in the Amazon fell by 34% in the first six months of Lula’s presidency.
“However, the Brazilian Congress remains outside of Lula’s control and recently approved a proposal that removes the Ministry of Environment’s oversight over the rural land registry and removes the power of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples to demarcate indigenous lands. Both of these measures pave the way for a return to incredibly harmful levels of deforestation.”
The Amazon rainforest today stands on the edge of a irreversible tipping point. Scientists have issued dire warnings, calling for immediate action to stop the ongoing destruction.
In response, activists are pushing for Brazil’s proposed ecocide law to be enacted, which they say will provide much-needed protection to the Amazon and its ecosystems, and support the rights of indigenous communities to continue their guardianship. of the forest.
Jojo Mehta, Executive Director of Stop Ecocide International, highlighted the timeliness and importance of the bill, which she said served as a rallying point for civil society and social movements to advocate for change in an increasingly difficult political environment.
Along with the development of ecocide laws, activists have advocated for the recognition of the rights of nature.
This legal concept grants nature similar human rights, aimed at protecting and preserving ecosystems. In Brazil, laws on the rights of nature have begun to gain ground.
For example, the municipality of Bonito, located in the state of Pernambuco, enacted a law on the rights of nature in 2017. Two other cities in Brazil, Paudalho and Florianópolis, have also incorporated provisions relating to the rights of nature. in their legislation.
These efforts reflect a growing recognition of the intrinsic value of nature and the need to safeguard its well-being through legal means.
In June 2023, the Guajará-Mirimof City Council recognized the rights of the Laje River in Brazil to “maintain its natural flow”, “feed” and “be fed” – the first such decision in Brazil, which marked a crucial step in saving rivers and forests from ecocide.
Ecocide and the rights of nature are different in their approaches but have the same objective: to establish legal protection of nature under constitutional law.
While ecocide laws refer to the destruction or serious harm to ecosystems and criminalize those responsible, rights of nature laws grant legal status to natural entities. This allows landscapes such as forests and rivers to be represented in court with the granting of certain rights and protections.
In Ecuador, the law on the rights of nature has already passed historic milestones. The court ruling in favor of the Alambi River and the ‘Quito Mining Free’ campaign have translated landscape rights into legal language, further strengthening environmental protection measures.
Amazonia: the heart of Mother Earth stimulates international debate on why ecocide should be adopted not only in Brazil, but worldwide. The film’s message is clear: the permanent demarcation and protection of indigenous lands is the most viable way to halt deforestation in the Amazon.
Yasmin Dahnoun is associate editor at The ecologist. This article is based on a Stop Ecocide International Press release.