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This “paves” the way for new and increased development, which had long been urged by powerful business and agriculture interests, as some development was taking place illegally already because protections and enforcement on indigenous lands were increasingly weakened in recent years.
Bolsonaro tweeted in defense of the decision that “More than 15% of the national territory is demarcated as indigenous land and quilombolas. Less than a million people live in these isolated places in Brazil, exploited and manipulated by NGOs. Let us together integrate these citizens and value all Brazilians.”
Many environmental and native rights groups had feared the worst for millions of acres of native controlled and protected lands in the Amazon rainforest after Bolsonaro was elected last year, according to The Washington Post. Sônia Guajajara, one of the country’s most prominent indigenous leaders, said in a tweet, “Have you seen? The breakup has begun.”
Some experts questioned the constitutionality of the move.The New York Times stated that “Brazil’s 1988 Constitution, passed as the country emerged from a 21-year military dictatorship, established strong protections for Brazil’s historically marginalized groups, seeking to make amends for decades of institutionalized discrimination and brutality.”
Why This Matters: This power shift is more than just re-arranging the deck chairs in a new administration, as the government claimed in trying to minimize its impact. Many predict it is just the beginning and that many more anti-environmental policies are likely to be rolled out in the weeks ahead. This move puts at risk a major source of climate change mitigation and the land rights of a million native Brazilians, not to mention the decades of work of many environmental groups who were succeeding in slowing the growth of deforestation in Brazil. Brazil was previously known for its strong environmental protection — just like the U.S. Not so much anymore for either nation.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A condo collapse in Miami is prompting new conversations about the threats rising sea levels and flooding present to the nation’s infrastructure. Experts say that it’s too early to determine whether or not climate change contributed to the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers. But they also warn that as sea levels rise […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Louisiana loses almost a football field of land each day, caused by a combination of climate change-fueled sea level rise, reduced sediment flow from the Mississippi River, and the land gradually sinking. One area that’s not slipping underwater: Avery Island, the birthplace of Tabasco hot sauce that’s still the […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and part of the state Cabinet have approved a highway extension spanning a portion of the Everglades. The move rejects a 2020 recommended order from Administrative Law Judge Suzanne Van Wyk, claiming that the project was incompatible with continued efforts to establish protections in the region. Legal challenges are […]
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