Chicagoland activists fight Amazon fires in Brazil
Local members of the climate emergency group, Extinction Rebellion, and allied groups Greenpeace, Rising Tide, Indivisible, as well as concerned individuals gathered for a protest outside the Brazilian Consulate to express and demonstrate solidarity with the indigenous people being adversely affected by the fires being set by farmers, ranchers and mining companies in the Amazon rainforest. This local protest was part of a wave of international protests called by Extinction Rebellion, Amazon Watch, The Brazil’s Indigenous People Articulation (APIB).
The fires came to international attention in recent weeks due to the threat to the long-term health to the Amazon rainforest, the lungs of the planet. The Amazon is one of the largest carbon sinks on the planet. Scientists have stated that if the amount of fires continue unabated, it will accelerate dieback, where rainforest becomes grasslands and savannah due to water stress and warmer temperatures exacerbated by human caused fires. This dieback will make the Amazon into a source of carbon emissions instead of a sink. The rainforest is the source of 20% of the breathable oxygen produced on the planet.
Brazilian President Bolsonaro is encouraging farmers, ranchers, and mining companies to start more fires, many of them targeting indigenous communities that live in the Amazon. Many of the homes and lands of Amazonia peoples are being burned and destroyed by the fires. Various investment groups and individuals are profiting from the destruction of the Amazon, particularly including BlackRock, which is the world’s largest asset manager and presents itself as being pro-environment.
All of the groups that assembled today outside the consulate in solidarity with the Amazonia indigenous communities are calling on companies and individuals to divest from their holdings profiting directly and indirectly from the continued destruction of the Amazon rainforest. We are calling on governments around the world to halt trade with Brazil until the fires put out and there is a commitment from the Brazilian government to stop burning the Amazon for profit and at the expense of the continued health and well-being of the indigenous people of Brazil and of everybody on the planet.