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Essay: Brazil’s Environmental Movements Combatting Climate Change & Urgent Issues

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  • Published: 22 February 2023*
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  • Words: 789 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)
  • Tags: Climate change essays

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The environmental movements in Brazil that fight for sustainability are actively combatting urgent issues that are intertwined with climate change. The abuse of illegal mining which originates from the conquistadores that were stealing the resources has created a system where the abandoned mines leave debris that puts toxins in the land and the water of the people. The removal of forests has devastated much of the Amazons and has created detrimental effects. In addition, all the air pollution has caused a prevalence of symptoms that have widely affected the health of the population. Although the corporate groups of the world that are benefitting from this system are at a stand with the social movements, the struggle persists with the sources of environmental degradation that affect public health.

Mining operations done by in the rainforests of Brazil affect the communities and the animal species living near the harmful activities. The rise of the illegal mining started at the time of the garimpeiro gold rushes in Brazil during the 1980s. This is a direct result of the elimination of the 1971 gold standard by Richard Nixon as evidenced by the causation of gold prices increasing. About 100,000 sugar cane employees in Brazil quit their current job to begin working in the Serra Palada which is a large gold mine. This new demand made the work more feasible. During this period of time mine activity increased up to 400 percent since 1999 in the Amazon Countries. This increase in production led to the largest source of mercury toxins released into the air, water, and land. This totaled up to eleven to thirty-three tons of the mercury as of 2012 (Wilden 577). The output increased along with the production of copper, manganese, tin, silver, nickel, zinc, along with other elements. Environmentalists and activists’ groups continue to fight for the protection of the reserves in northern Ampá and Pará. Their arguments stress the importance of biodiversity and to protect species that inhabit the area but have not been studied yet. Activists continue to fight the government who allows the corporations to abuse the land and therefore cause erosion and sinkholes. The core countries whose corporations prey on peripheral countries are similarly to how the European conquistadores use the indigenous lands. They both steal and abuse power to produce economic gains off the back of the natives. As stated in Modern Latin America, “Spain attempted to monopolize the access to wealth discovered in the New World. The first tar- get was mining, first of gold and then mainly of silver.” (Skidmore 19). This connects to the theory that the corporations have replaced the conquistadores. In the movie, Even the Rain, it compares in various scenes how the privatization of such a natural resource as water is similar to the conquistadores taking the land from the indigenous communities.  Although the claim is that their efforts are to modernize, the reality is that they are lowering the quality of life of the communities. In View From the South, it is stated by the president that they “need strategies that are both economically productive and environmentally sound.” (Winn 17). Protecting the land of the indigenous communities is part of what makes regions culturally diverse.

The lack of governmental control and regulations has resulted in deforestation at such a grand scale that there are no existing resources to properly repair the damage. The amount of production of Cattle Ranching, soybean production, logging, along with other means is almost countless to the amount of treasured land that has been ripped away. One the main group that is for environmental and indigenous people rights are in the Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement. (Petra 20) The social issues that develop from the fight for deforestation from the rural landless movement in Brazil examines violence and oppression. (Romig 84) The history of vioelnec goes back to August of 1999 where the over a hundred policemen were brought to trial for the accusations of murdering 19 land reform activists and wounding over 40 people during the peaceful demonstration (Romig 92). The most logical way to progress towards a solution is to reach a point where Brazil has such a strong economic foundation such that land would not have to be sold to foreign corporations.

Although the efforts of activists are not able to keep up with the corporate groups that are causing these environmental effects, people must take a stand and fight for future generations. Resistance against the groups that benefit from illegal mining, deforestation, and other sources of air pollution must be fought. The exponential growth of negative impacts will worsen over time if action by the government is not taken. Alongside the environmental movements in Brazil and in the world, the fight for sustainability that are intertwined with climate change will come to show positive results.

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