The Brazilian Parliament is an example of the predicament in which humanity finds itself: on a planet in climate collapse, the global future is determined by local decisions. In Brazil, Congress is controlled by climate-deniing deputies and senators, partly out of ignorance, partly because they prefer to enrich themselves in the immediate present, partly for both reasons. At the end of May, deputies attacked the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, led by Marina Silva, removing essential structures from it. They also took away from the newly created Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, led by Sonia Guajajara, its main function: to demarcate the lands of the original populations. The Senate approved the defacement of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's ministries directly linked to nature protection. On Monday, World Environment Day, Marina Silva, who fought almost alone to change this outcome, called her ministry's deforestation a "setback." It is much more than that. The attack compromises, perhaps irreversibly, the protection of the Amazon.
This is the drama. The very near future is decided by men in suits, mostly white, far from the Amazon and other biomes. Without a majority in Congress, Lula endorsed the deforestation of the ministries. The deputies of the ruling base did not even pretend that they were trying to stop the destruction. The climate emergency is far from the consciousness of the majority. Although extreme events are multiplying around the world, it remains a ghetto issue, even for a part of the left.
A day before the attack on the structure of the new government, Brazilian deputies had already approved another atrocity: the "temporal milestone", an aberration that determines that only indigenous peoples who were on their lands on October 5, 1988, the date of the promulgation of the Constitution, have the right to have their territory demarcated. The point that is deliberately ignored is that many indigenous people had been expelled from their land or had fled to avoid being exterminated.
With the approval of the bill, which must still pass through the Senate, the deputies want to go ahead with the destruction of nature. Today the Federal Supreme Court judges this matter. The vote has mobilized indigenous peoples, but it should mobilize all humanity, since it is proven that the Amazon resists where there are indigenous lands.
Brazilian democracy is precarious. If it were a dictatorship, the risk would be even greater, because the few counterweights would have already been eliminated. Brazil was going in that direction when Jair Bolsonaro demoralized the presidency. That is why the United States of Joe Biden and part of the governments of Europe celebrated the victory of Lula, who promised to protect the Amazon. But the far-right project is still active in the Brazilian Congress and is deciding the future of the world.
The denialist deputies and senators will only stop denying when those who finance their campaigns lose money. The external pressure must be much greater. The European Union must prevent more effectively the import of products from deforestation and take action against mining companies and other corporations flying the flag of Member States that destroy the forest and pollute the rivers. The press repeats that Congress has "sandwiched" Lula. We are the ones who are sandwiched. And the house is burning.
Translation by Meritxell Almarza.
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