It has recently been reported that the Brazilian government and the World Wide Fund for Nature (aka WWF) created a new fund that will protect around 150 million acres of the Amazon Rainforest, about 15%. It will specifically support the Amazon Region Protected Areas program (ARPA). It all began in 1998, when Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso pledged to triple the size of the Brazilian Amazon under protection.
Four years later in 2002 the ARPA program was created and consists of key groups ranging from government agencies to NGOs representing civil society, local communities and major donors. The objective was to secure permanent financing for smart management of reserves that would conserve precious Amazon and keep money-driven careless deforestation out.
The Amazon is a necessity of Earth as it brings balance to living systems. It’s importance cannot be overemphasized. Whether you live there or not you rely on the Amazon for a number of reasons. Humans depend on the economic and ecological “services” the Amazon provides: a steady supply of freshwater, including almost 20 percent of the world’s river water; timber provision; disease treatments; plant pollination; recreation and tourism; and more.
The most critical of these services are global climate regulation and carbon removal. NASA reports, “A new NASA-led study seven years in the making has confirmed that natural forests in the Amazon remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit, therefore reducing global warming. This finding resolves a long-standing debate about a key component of the overall carbon balance of the Amazon basin.” Additionally, the Amazon literally influences rainfall and weather patterns around the world. ARPA will help ensure balance as best as possible.
At the end of the day, the protected area is only a small percent of the full Amazon and battles to stop destruction of the area continue to threaten indigenous people continue.
President Dilma Rousseff makes promises for the type of future that we want through growth, inclusion and protection; however at the same time is pushing through construction of the destructive Belo Monte Dam in the Amazon – without the approval of the tens of thousands of people who would be affected. According to Amazon Watch, “The Brazilian environmental agency IBAMA granted the project an installation license in June 2011, and construction of temporary earthen cofferdams initiated in July 2011. A series of occupation activities started in 2012 led by the region’s indigenous peoples and other traditional communities. These occupations have delayed the project. Legal challenges from civil society groups and Brazilian public attorneys have also delayed the project with temporary injunctions, while one lawsuit over indigenous consultation currently awaits trial in Brazil’s Supreme Court.”
Watch the video below to learn more and visit here to learn more about the crisis and how you can help.
Watch this video provided by Amazon Watch which talks about the fight against the Belo Monte Dam