Petition calls on Brazilian president to veto 'catastrophic' forest code

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Offline everlastinglove_MJ

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Petition calls on Brazilian president to veto 'catastrophic' forest code

More than 1.5 million people have petitioned Dilma Rousseff to reject a bill that may lead to further destruction of the Amazon

John Vidal and Damian Carrington, Friday 11 May 2012 12.38 BST

More than 1.5 million people in Europe, the US and elsewhere have petitioned the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, to veto a law that critics say could lead to the loss of 220,000 square kilometres of Amazonian rainforest, an area close to the combined size of the UK and France.

The proposed new Brazilian forest code, pushed through parliament by the powerful farming lobby in the face of national opposition, would provide an amnesty for landowners who have illegally cleared forests in the past and will allow deforestation in previously protected areas like mountain tops and beside rivers. According to environment groups, it could allow loggers to chop down more of the Amazon than has been possible in the last 50 years.

The president, who has the right to veto the bill, has been bombarded with emails, petitions and by social media appeals by more than 1.5 million people. This number is expected to rise dramatically in the next few days as Greenpeace, Avaaz and WWF International ask their 22 million supporters to sign up.

"Nearly 80% of Brazilians want this catastrophic bill scrapped, and so far over 1 million people across the world support them. President Rousseff has a choice – sign the Amazon's death sentence or protect the planet's lungs and emerge a public hero," said Ricken Patel, Avaaz director.

"President Dilma Rousseff stands at a defining moment for her presidency," said Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International director. "The choice is clear. She can ignore the Brazilian people and side with 'destruction as usual' as enshrined in the new forest code or exercise her veto and support the call for a new zero deforestation law. We urge her to take the visionary path of a leader who understands that with power comes responsibility."

The groups hope that Rousseff, who has until 25 May to exercise her veto, will bow to international pressure to avoid embarrassment when she plays host to the UN's Rio +20 Earth summit next month. More than 125 heads of state as well as 45,000 delegates are expected to attend the world's largest environment conference in a generation, pledging to protect forests and develop the "green economy".

The new forest code allows landowners to count woodland on river margins, hilltops and steep inclines towards a total proportion of forest that must be legally preserved on their land. It also allows for reserve areas in the Amazon to be reduced from 80% to 50%, as long as the state where the reduction is planned maintains 65% of protected areas.

Landowners, who are growing in political importance as Brazil becomes a major exporter of commodity crops, said they were confident that the international pressure would not succeed.

"Brazil is the only country that has the moral authority to discuss [Brazilian] environmental issues," said Katia Abreu, senator and president of the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil. "I don't understand why the NGOs oppose the changes. The main NGOs are European but I do not see them asking Europe to revive its forests. Why only in Brazil? We want to bring legal certainty for farmers with this bill. I am convinced [Rousseff] will not veto." Patrick Cunningham, of the Indigenous People's Cultural Support Trust, said: "The changes will overturn a law which even Brazil's military dictatorship didn't dare to challenge, and will be an abrogation of the country's laudable and longstanding commitment to protection of the fragile rainforest environment."[/size]

:icon_pale: Let's hope President Rousseff will not sign for the Amazon's death sentence.

I respect the secrets and magic of nature, that’s why it makes me so angry when I see these things that are happening, that every second, I hear, the size of a football field is torn down in the Amazon. That kind of stuff really bothers me! That’s why I write these kinds of songs, you know, to give some sense of awareness and awakening and hope to people. I love the planet! I love trees. I have this thing for trees and the colors and changing of leave…I love it!! I respect those kinds of things”.

“I really feel that nature is trying so hard to compensate for man’s mismanagement of the planet. The planet is sick, like a fever. And if we don’t fix it now, it’s at the point of no return. This is our last chance to fix this problem that we have, or it’s like a run-away train and the time has come, this is it”.

“People are always saying “Oh, they’ll take care of it, the government or they will…they?…they who?…it starts with US! It’s us or it will never be done”.
~ Michael Jackson in "This Is It"

« Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 07:35:03 PM by everlastinglove_MJ »
It's all for L.O.V.E.

Offline blankie

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Thanks Everlasting for sharing this... :icon_rolleyes:  your hope is my hope... :icon_pale:

Offline Andrea

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Once again, another argument for hemp usage.

Hemp can make anything that trees can, the difference is you get a much greater yield out of a much smaller growth-area of hemp.  There would be no need to clear-cut any forests ever again.

Offline Grace

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The state of Rondônia in western Brazil — once home to 208,000 square kilometers of forest (about 51.4 million acres), an area slightly smaller than the state of Kansas — has become one of the most deforested parts of the Amazon. In the past three decades, clearing and degradation of the state’s forests have been rapid: 4,200 square kilometers cleared by 1978; 30,000 by 1988; and 53,300 by 1998. By 2003, an estimated 67,764 square kilometers of rainforest—an area larger than the state of West Virginia—had been cleared.
By the start of this satellite time series from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, the frontier had reached the remote northwest corner of Rondônia. Intact forest is deep green, while cleared areas are tan (bare ground) or light green (crops, pasture, or occasionally, second-growth forest). Over the span of eight years, roads and clearings pushed west-northwest from Buritis toward the Jaciparaná River. The deforested area along the road into Nova Mamoré expanded north-northeast all the way to the BR-346 highway.
Deforestation follows a fairly predictable pattern in these images. The first clearings that appear in the forest are in a fishbone pattern, arrayed along the edges of roads. Over time, the fishbones collapse into a mixture of forest remnants, cleared areas, and settlements. This pattern follows one of the most common deforestation trajectories in the Amazon. Legal and illegal roads penetrate a remote part of the forest, and small farmers migrate to the area. They claim land along the road and clear some of it for crops. Within a few years, heavy rains and erosion deplete the soil, and crop yields fall. Farmers then convert the degraded land to cattle pasture, and clear more forest for crops. Eventually the small land holders, having cleared much of their land,  sell it or abandon it to large cattle holders, who consolidate the plots into large areas of pasture.
World of Change: Amazon Deforestation : Feature Articles

July 30, 2000

July 10, 2005

August 2, 2010

Posted on Sun, Sep. 05, 2004
Slavery exists out of sight in Brazil
By Kevin G. Hall
Knight Ridder Newspapers
MARABA, Brazil - Jose Silva came to the Macauba Ranch in Brazil's eastern Amazon hoping to earn a few hundred dollars clearing jungle.
Two years later, he was $800 in debt and terrified that if he tried to leave the ranch, Gilmar the field boss would pull out his .38 revolver and kill him.

"I would cry alone at night in my hammock and ask God to help me escape. I felt like a slave," he told Knight Ridder.
Silva was a modern slave, working with 46 other men and a boy to clear jungle with machetes, chain saws and tractors from sunup to sundown in the tropical heat, seven days a week, for no money. He and the others got one meal a day of rice, beans and a little chicken or beef, which they were made to eat standing up to discourage resting. There were no toilets or latrines at the workers' camp, only bushes.
Rat feces flecked the sacks of rice in the camp's storehouse. Flies covered raw meat hung on clotheslines in the tropical heat. Workers got no medical attention, even though one of them shivered with malaria, a disease spread by the Amazon's ubiquitous mosquitoes. Brazil abolished slavery in 1888. Earlier this year, however, the government acknowledged to the United Nations that at least 25,000 Brazilians work under "conditions analogous to slavery." The top anti-slavery official in Brasilia, the capital, puts the number of modern slaves at 50,000.
The fruits of Brazil's slave labor end up in the United States in the form of imported hardwoods, pig iron and processed meats. Other products, such as soybeans produced on farms cleared by enslaved workers, compete with U.S. products in world markets.
"Silva" isn't the ranch worker's real name. When a Knight Ridder reporter encountered him, he was an informant leading Brazilian labor department investigators, accompanied by heavily armed federal police, back to the Macauba Ranch. He may be called as a witness in court cases, and labor officials insisted that he not be identified for fear of reprisal.
While landowners don't own Brazil's modern slaves, the workers toil at gunpoint and the threat of violence, hidden by the vast Amazon jungle and, in many cases, beyond the reach of the law.
Most are unschooled men from Brazil's northern states, where their families live in tiny dirt-floored homes without running water. Their infants squabble with cats and dogs and pigs over food.
Recruiters who promise land-clearing jobs that pay $3 to $4 a day find it easy to lure these men hundreds of miles southeast to clear land at the edge of the Amazon jungle.
"Our situation obligates us to travel," said Jose Egito dos Santos, 43, a father of four once lured into slavery. He's a subsistence farmer in the northern state of Piaui, where he considers himself lucky to make $20 a month.
Slavery persists in Brazil - alone among South American countries - for a simple reason and a complicated one. The simple reason is that slaves are out of sight and out of mind: Brazilians in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, who dominate the national political culture, are no more likely to worry about rural slaves in the Amazon than New Yorkers are to worry about illegal immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley.
The eastern Amazon region, where most Brazilian slavery occurs, is remote, and its ranchers feel few restraints in how they treat their workers.
"Landowners believe it is the most normal thing in the world to deny someone their liberty and even their life," said Marinalva Cardoso, leader of a government anti-slavery team.
By law, enslaving a worker can bring a landowner two to eight years in prison in addition to fines. However, the fines are so low - less than $110 per offense - that they're at worst a small cost of doing business. And no one has ever been imprisoned for it.
The complicated reason is that Brazil's modern slaves are cogs in the global economy. Their labor makes Brazil's exports of beef, soybeans, timber and pig iron cheaper, often much cheaper than competing U.S. products.
On the Macauba Ranch, where Silva worked, some slaves cleared jungle with machetes to make tropical hardwoods accessible to loggers, pastureland for cattle and farmland for soybeans. They also did the logging and manned clay ovens that turned wood from the cleared land into charcoal that's used to make pig iron.
Brazil is the leading exporter of cooked and processed meats to the United States. Beef from cattle raised on land cleared by slave labor can end up in products such as Con Agra's Mary Kitchen corned beef. Typically, commodities produced with slave labor in Brazil get mixed in with commodities produced by its legal workers. By the time they reach the United States, it's almost impossible to determine whether a shipment is contaminated. U.S. companies, do, however, import products from areas of Brazil where slavery is widespread.
Brazilian tropical hardwoods such as cumaru, ipe and jatoba, some of it harvested or made accessible to loggers by enslaved workers, are widely sold as exotic flooring and decking. In U.S. stores such as Home Depot's Expo Design Centers, such woods are sold under names such as Brazilian cherry, Brazilian teak and Brazilian walnut.
Cleared wood that has no commercial value ends up in charcoal ovens, which are often tended by slaves or by what Brazil terms "degrading" labor: workers considered slightly less abused because they're not held against their will. Degraded workers in the Amazon number in the hundreds of thousands, or by some estimates a million or more. No one in official Brazil has a precise number for them or for slaves.
Blast furnaces in the eastern Amazon combine the charcoal that they produce with rich local iron ore to make pig iron, which is to finished iron and steel products what baking chocolate is to chocolate cake and fudge.
U.S. companies imported virtually all the 2.2 million tons of pig iron that northern Brazil produced last year. One of the biggest buyers was Nucor Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., America's leading steel-maker, whose products end up in everything from cars to steel beams. Executives of U.S. companies contacted by Knight Ridder said they were unaware of links between Brazilian slavery and their products, had language in their contracts with suppliers to assure that what they bought wasn't slave-tainted, or didn't consider the problem significant.
Nucor buys pig iron from Ferro Gusa do Maranhao (Fergumar), a Brazilian pig-iron maker that labor inspectors determined was buying charcoal from a ranch that used slave labor.
"We're not familiar with it, not involved with it. It's something for the Brazilian government to handle. . . . Nucor doesn't have the ability to influence the issue," said Dan DiMicco, Nucor's president and chief executive officer.
Kay Carpenter, a spokeswoman for ConAgra Foods in Omaha, Neb., which buys cooked beef from Brazil and sells it under the Mary Kitchen label, said her company was "several steps removed" from cattle ranches that are operating on land cleared by slaves a few years ago. At Cargill Inc. world headquarters in Minneapolis, spokeswoman Lori Johnson said the agribusiness giant had limited leverage over Brazilian soybean farmers. "I think it is unfair of folks to point at Cargill and say Cargill is solely responsible for actions other people take," she said.
American companies may see no evil, but the working conditions on some Brazilian farms and ranches may be even worse than those endured by the 3.6 million African slaves on whom Brazil depended for four centuries, said Marcelo Campos, who heads anti-slavery programs at Brazil's Ministry of Labor.
Modern Day Slavery in Brazil

U.S. consumers concerned about slavery in Brazil have some options
By Kevin G. Hall
Knight Ridder Newspapers
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Concerned U.S. consumers can choose not to buy some Brazilian products that might be tainted by slavery, such as tropical hardwoods. For products that few people buy directly, such as soybeans or pig iron, the best way to express an opinion is to write to the heads of U.S. companies that do buy them.
Among many active U.S. importers are:
- Nucor Corp., 2100 Rexford Rd. Charlotte, NC 28211; Daniel R. DiMicco, president and CEO (pig iron).
- Cargill Inc., P.O. Box 9300, Minneapolis, MN 55440; Warren R. Staley, chairman and chief executive officer (soybeans).
- ConAgra Foods Inc., One ConAgra Drive, Omaha, NE 68102; Bruce C. Rohde, chairman, CEO and president (processed beef).
- BR-111, 9590 Lynn Buff Court, Laurel, MD 20723; Ricardo Moraes, owner (rainforest hardwoods).
- DLH Nordisk Inc., 2307 W. Cone Blvd. #200, Greensboro, NC 27408; Stewart Sexton, president (rainforest hardwoods).
In the case of Brazilian hardwoods, only wood certified by the international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC: Startpage -Forest Stewardship Council) can be presumed to be free from the slavery taint and to come from sustainable forestry. The council's approval, indicated by a check mark whose long end extends to form a tree, will be on a label accompanying the wood. Expect this wood to cost about 10 to 30 percent more than uncertified equivalents.
The oldest and largest U.S. supplier of FSC-certified hardwood is EcoTimber in San Rafael, Calif. Conscious Flooring of Holbrook, Mass., sells EcoTimber's wood on the East Coast.
More generally, opponents of Brazilian slavery can write Brazil's ambassador in Washington, Roberto Abendur, to express their support for Brazil's efforts to stop it. His address is Brazilian Embassy, 3006 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20008.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is Congress' leader when it comes to global working conditions. His address is 731 HSOB, Washington, DC 20510. The American Anti-Slavery Group offers material on enslaved charcoal workers in Brazil. Go to, click on "Slavery Today," then on the map of South America, then on Brazil. London-based Anti-Slavery International ( reports regularly on slavery in Brazil. Write "Brazil" in the home page's search box.
Other groups concerned about modern slavery in rural Brazil include: - The U.N. International Labour Organization (International Labour Organization).
- The International Labor Rights Fund (International Labor Rights Forum). Groups that are trying to halt Amazon deforestation and related ills such as slavery include:
- Greenpeace International ( Go to the "Campaigns" link, then click on "Protect Ancient Forests," then on "Amazon."
- Environmental Defense ( Go to "Our Programs" and click on "Learn More," then on "International."
- Rainforest Relief (
- World Wildlife Fund-Brazil (WWF Brasil -).
Modern Day Slavery in Brazil[/td][/tr][/table]
« Last Edit: May 17, 2012, 09:27:41 AM by Grace »
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Offline everlastinglove_MJ

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Thank you all for your thoughts and support.

@Grace: great post of awareness, with clear visible evidence of Amazon deforestation, and also about the modern slavery.

I've read that in January 2012 a new law went into effect, which should eliminate slavery and human trafficking:

New California Slave Labor Law (SB 657) To Expose Ugly Side of Many Common Commodities; Impact 3200 Companies
Avocacy groups say slave labor connected to palm oil, chocolate and cotton production will provide initial test cases for compliance with the new Transparency in Supply Chains Act

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Laurel Sutherlin,     
San Francisco, CA - Leading environmental and corporate social responsibility organizations say that chronic human rights abuses associated with popular products like chocolate and cotton tee shirts will join controversial food additive palm oil to provide initial test cases for companies striving to comply with California’s Supply Chain Transparency Act (SB 657). The new law that went into effect Jan 1st, 2012, requires retailers and manufacturers to publicly disclose their efforts to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chains. The law applies to all corporations doing business in California with more than $100 million in worldwide gross receipts – an estimated 3,200 companies.
A roundtable focused on the new California law was held at the Bay Area Council in San Francisco on January 6th and was attended by advocacy organizations, attorneys, state representatives and executives from several Bay Area corporations, including Hewlett-Packard, McKesson, PG&E, Levi Strauss, Gap Inc. and Safeway. Following the roundtable, representatives of Rainforest Action Network, Responsible Sourcing Network and Green America issued the following statements.
Rainforest Action Network’s (RAN’s) Forest Program Director Lindsey Allen commented:
“California’s new law is designed to give consumers the information they need to make more informed choices about what products they buy. In addition to the widespread destruction of rainforests that result from palm oil production, it has been clear for many years that slave labor, debt bondage and human rights abuses on plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia are part of what has made palm oil into the cheap and ubiquitous food additive it is today. In 2010, the US Dept. of Labor confirmed this by placing palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia on its List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.
It is past time that companies like agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. acknowledge the true costs of palm oil and this law’s transparency requirements are a first step. The law’s mandate that companies report what they are or are not doing to address slave labor in their supply chains will help to publicly distinguish corporate leaders from laggards when it comes to aligning products with the values consumers care most about.”
Green America's Fair Trade Campaigns Director, Elizabeth O'Connell said:
“For more than ten years, consumers have called on chocolate companies to take more responsibility for their supply chains and ensure that forced, trafficked, and child labor were not used to harvest their cocoa beans.  While some companies have taken voluntary steps to prevent labor abuses, such as third party certification, other major companies, including Hershey, continue to drag their feet.  The passage of California’s SB657 will require that all companies disclose what they are doing to prevent labor abuse in their supply chains, and therefore, pressure laggards like Hershey to finally address these issues.
Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN) Director Patricia Jurewicz said,
“Investors are looking for more than just the transparency this statute requires. Even more important to investors will be seeing the new steps companies are taking to minimize reputational risks and be proactive in eliminating slavery from the products they sell. For example,  we are  tracking for the investment community if companies have signed our pledge and are participating in our initiative to stop forced child labor in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan.”
For more information:
The US Dept. of Labor 2011 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor
Effective Supply Chain Accountability: Investor Guidance on Implementation of The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and Beyond
Compliance is Not Enough: Best Practices in Responding to The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act
Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: Rainforest Action Network | Environmentalism with teeth..
Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today's social and environmental problems. For more information, go to: Green America: Economic Action for a Just Planet.
Responsible Sourcing Network is a project of the non-profit organization As You Sow. RSN addresses human rights violations and environmental destruction in the supply chains of consumer products at the raw commodity level. For more information, please visit Responsible Sourcing Network - Welcome.

Read more: New California Slave Labor Law (SB 657) To Expose Ugly Side of Many Common Commodities; Impact 3200 Companies | Rainforest Action Network

I hope for the best result.

It's all for L.O.V.E.

Offline PureLove

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This is so sad. We're destroying the nature and bringing our own death closer.


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