The new Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva, this Wednesday at her inauguration in Brasilia. EVARISTO SA (AFP)
Symbol of that Brazil at the beginning of the century that was a world example in environmental issues, the environmentalist and veteran politician Marina Silva returns to the Government to direct for the third time a ministry that has a new name, that of Environment and Climate Change.
Silva (Breu Velho, Acre, 64 years old) took office this Wednesday in Brasilia with the mission of reversing the devastating policy implemented by Jair Bolsonaro, which has triggered deforestation to record levels in 15 years.
Her intention is not only for Brazil to stop being a planetary environmental villain, but also to lead the fight against the climate emergency.
The minister who with the best results combated deforestation in the Amazon returns to rebuild what was devastated by Bolsonaro's passage.
"Climate change policy was dismantled to the point that Brazil became a pariah in the world," Silva recalled in his speech at the Planalto Palace.
On New Year's Day, after his massive inauguration, Lula signed several decrees to promote the new environmental policy.
And the new minister has announced the creation of a secretariat focused on deforestation and another on the bioeconomy.
The Amazon rainforest lost 11,500 square kilometers in the last year.
To enter the Government, the policy required that environmental protection be a transversal issue, involving all ministries.
A demand that Lula accepted.
The course of Brazil's environmental policy is especially relevant for the planet because it is home to 60% of the Amazon, which extends through eight other neighboring countries.
And the largest tropical rainforest in the world helps curb global warming.
Hence its importance.
The Brazilian part hosts a third of the trees and 20% of the fresh water on the planet.
For now, the Amazon is part of the solution, but as it loses trees and biodiversity, the risk of exacerbating the problem increases.
For this reason, the systematic dismantling of Brazilian policies and institutions that protect the environment was so alarming for the international community.
The results obtained in his previous mandates and the current commitments have been answered from abroad.
The governments of Norway and Germany have reactivated a million-dollar fund that they created years ago to encourage environmental protection and finance projects to preserve the tropical forest.
Called the Amazon Fund, it was totally paralyzed during Bolsonaro's tenure.
Silva was born on an Amazonian plantation of rubber tappers, learned to read in adolescence and forged himself as a union and political leader with Chico Mendes, assassinated in 1988. He assumes a portfolio that with Bolsonaro was in the hands of a minister, Ricardo Salles, that in a Cabinet meeting in the middle of the pandemic he proposed to “
pass a boiada
” (approve the bovine in free translation).
In other words, taking advantage of the fact that the press was focused on the ravages of the coronavirus to pass laws that weakened environmental protection.
In her speech, the new, former minister stressed: "Our conservation units (nature reserves) were attacked by people who felt authorized by the highest hierarchy of the Republic (...) The only reason why the damage was not The greater is that officials, parliamentarians and sectors of the judiciary faced this process of dismantling”.
Silva has had a memory for those who gave their lives in the battle, such as the murdered Bruno Pereira, an indigenous official, Dom Philips, the British journalist who accompanied him, and the indigenous Janildo Guajajara, one of those guardians who protect the jungle on a motorbike with arrows and the help of satellites.
For four years, Bolsonaro emboldened those who plunder the Amazon, illegal miners, illegal loggers, etc. and even promoted a legal change to annul the prohibition on commercially exploiting the natural wealth of indigenous lands, a reform that did not go ahead. .
The minister also stressed that retaking the leading role in the climate fight will contribute to the ratification of the trade agreement signed between the European Union and Mercosur, weighed down by reluctance in ecological matters.
Silva has made it clear, as Lula did before, that the new Brazilian government seeks international support and financing to protect its natural heritage.
The Amazon is, in addition to a regulator of the palentary temperature, home to almost 40 million inhabitants, the vast majority poor and without opportunities to prosper through legal means.
Lula, as in other strategic ministries, has opted for a safe value, someone with proven management experience.
The veteran politician is one of the former adversaries who joined Lula's electoral campaign to save Brazilian democracy from Bolsonaro's attacks.
In addition, as a woman and as an evangelical, her contribution to the victory of the broad coalition was important.
Joining forces with the already president and with the Workers' Party (PT) meant a rapprochement after years of disagreement after Silva resigned in 2008 in protest because the Government put its infrastructure projects before the protection of the Amazon.
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