The answer is: because you need to breathe, eat, drink and you have loved ones who need the same now and in the future. If we lose the Amazon forest, we lose our future. If we want to protect the Amazon, we need to defend the Amazon's guardians - the Indigenous peoples of Brazil.
Brazil is voting to legalize the destruction of the Amazon forest and the extermination of Indigenous peoples because they are the last line of defence of the forest. It is the proverbial "shit show".
The current Brazilian government has organized a perversely smart coordinated attack on our collective future. We will all suffer from the consequences of the tragedy that is unfolding in Brazil, and of our action or inaction now.
Politicians in Brazil are voting to remove laws that protect the Amazon and many other ecologically sensitive areas. The plan of the government is to open the Amazon and other protected areas to mining, logging, and farming, for our consumption here, in the global north. And, yes, we are complicit in systemic harm.
Since most ecologically protected areas are held by Indigenous peoples, the government plans to take away Indigenous land titles and to cancel Indigenous rights to be able to open these areas to business.
This will literally kill Indigenous peoples, as corporations and land grabbers will know they can get away with theft and murder.
Indigenous peoples in Brazil talk about the laws that cancel their rights and land titles as "the legalization of their extermination" and as a "civilized massacre".
Indigenous peoples are the Amazon's last line of defence. If they lose their rights to the land and to consultation, we all lose this battle, we all lose the Amazon. If we don't do anything, you will watch a very grim future unfold before our eyes!
More deforestation will push the Amazon beyond a tipping point, after which it can turn from a rainforest into a savanna. This is only slightly better than turning into a desert.
The Amazon will turn from a vital carbon sink that helps us slow down climate change to a dangerous carbon source that will accelerate climate change. By the way this is already happening.
If Brazilian politicians pass these laws, we will see more forest fires, more floods, more droughts, more species going extinct, more unpredictable weather, more extreme temperatures, more food and water shortages, more inequalities, more polarization, more violent conflict, more people displaced by climate change - everywhere. This will be unavoidable.
We will also see yet again another wave of genocide of Indigenous peoples. Generally people are called to action when things are at their worst, but we have the opportunity to prevent this from escalating now.
It’s time to draw the line. If we can't rally behind the Amazon and their defenders, what else will it take?
Indigenous peoples are only 4% of the world’s population, but they protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity. Sit with these numbers for a while.
The fight against the climate crisis – the fight against our own extinction – depends on the survival of the lands for which Indigenous people are responsible. Without their land titles, without their rights, they cannot defend the land, or the biodiversity.
The math is simple: If Indigenous peoples lose their rights, we lose most of the biodiversity of the planet. If the Amazon forest disappears, it will lead to a faster warming of the climate and even more severe biodiversity loss.
And if Brazil votes in this direction, it will set an extremely dangerous precedent for other countries to follow.
This is the urgency of the situation.
Indigenous peoples in Brazil have put their lives on the line to defend our chance to have a future. They need our help now. They are fighting for our survival. Aren't we supposed to participate? The least we can do is bear witness.
This is the first time a call for collaborative international action is being issued by Indigenous peoples themselves, even though the visibility of this campaign can place their own lives at even greater risk.
They are asking us to make a last stand for Indigenous rights, for the Amazon, for the climate and for the planet.
If you are just an ordinary person, a family, an artist, a professional group, a union, a company or an organization, there is something you can do. See what you can do here.
If you decide to help, it is extremely important that you do not just visibilize the Amazon. If this happened we would trigger a nationalistic backlash in Brazil that will strengthen the government's position that the Amazon belongs to the people in Brazil and that the Brazilian people should open the Amazon up to business if they so wish, without foreign interference. This could cause further harm to Indigenous peoples in Brazil.
If you want to protect the Amazon, the best way to do it is by showing Brazil and the world that you stand with the Amazon's guardians and that you are a witness to what is happening.
If all efforts fail to prevent this judicial and legal tragedy, we will need to watch out for Indigenous communities that will be at greater risk of dying and being killed.
At that stage, our last option will be an international boycott of Brazilian products, which would hurt the Brazilian economy that is already precarious.
We do not want to do that, because a boycott can hurt the wrong people. However, it could also be the only international leverage left if the worst comes to pass.
This is a call for help from Indigenous peoples in Brazil: a call for us to wake up to what we have done to the planet, to other species, and to each other. They are asking us all to learn to work together, with maturity, discernment and responsibility.
It may be our last chance, humanity’s last chance, to grow up and show up differently, before we lose our future, before we lose the Amazon, before we lose our chance of survival on this planet.
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