The Amazon Biome now sits perilously close to a critical ecological tipping point, in which 40 percent of its area could irreversibly ‘flip’ from a water-generating rainforest to a dry, degraded grassland-type landscape. In 2020, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon reached its highest rate in a decade.
Given the Amazon’s critical role as a carbon sink, this could have severe implications for the global climate – not to mention for the lives and livelihoods of more than 30 million people who reside within the biome.
But it’s not a forgone conclusion. Grassroots solutions and calls for global action to save the Amazon are sprouting up left and right. With that, here are six Amazonia-led campaigns and networks that the world should know more about:
Launched this month at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) global congress, this campaign seeks to secure a global agreement for the permanent protection of 80 percent of the Amazon by 2025. It’s led by the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), which represents over 2 million Indigenous people from the nine Amazonian countries.
COICA describes the campaign as “an urgent measure to stop the point of no return and respond to the planetary crisis with transformative change,” and the campaign urges Amazon Basin countries to declare a state of emergency and halt the expansion of destructive industrial activities, as well as prohibit government policies and public subsidies that allow further forest destruction. It also calls on industrialized nations – given the Amazon’s role in their contributions to climate change – to channel resources to preserve the rainforest.
How to support: Add your signature to the declaration here.
Rede Fulanas | Mulheres Negras da Amazônia (Network of Black Women in the Amazon)
‘Os nossos passos vêm de longe’ (‘our steps come from afar’) is a familiar catchphrase amongst black Amazonian women. Their fight for rights, visibility and better lives is a centuries-old struggle that began with their enslaved West African ancestors – and continues to this day.
Despite comprising over 70 percent of the female population of Brazil’s northern region, black women are frequently ignored in mainstream narratives about the Amazon. Within the region, they often face significant discrimination and prejudice as well as economic marginalization and poor access to proper healthcare.
Rede Fulanas aims to connect, mobilize and give visibility to black women across Amazonia, running an annual March of Amazonian Black Women in the city of Belém and regular state-wide meetings and campaigns.
How to support: Follow Rede Fulanas and check out upcoming events on their Facebook page.
Articulação das Povos Indígenas do Brasil (APIB) (Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil)
While the 1988 Brazilian constitution recognizes Indigenous ownership of traditional lands, many of these lands are yet to be demarcated, and legal protection often goes unenforced. This leaves these lands vulnerable to encroachment and degradation through activities such as mining, logging and cattle ranching. These activities also impact Indigenous populations directly, such as through the spread of disease.
Initiated in 2005, APIB is an ongoing campaign to promote and defend Indigenous rights in Brazil. It aims to formulate and implement specific, differentiated public policies for Indigenous peoples; it also documents, broadcasts and demands justice for violations of Indigenous rights within the country. During the COVID-19 pandemic, violations of Indigenous rights increased in Brazil, and APIB has played a key role in tracking these.
How to support: Donate to support APIB’s work here.
Selo Origens Brasil (Origins Brazil stamp)
Economic development often drives environmental destruction, but the two don’t have to go hand-in-hand. The Origens Brasil network adds value to standing Amazonian forest by promoting sustainable business and ethical trade in priority conservation areas, in turn showing the world that it’s possible to “produce in order to conserve.”
Origens Brasil certifies a wide range of products, from wild mushrooms and Brazil nuts to sneakers and soaps, and consumers can trace their origins by scanning the QR code that’s integrated into their stamps.
So far, Origens has signed up 1,921 producers from 43 Indigenous, Afro-descendent and local communities across 52 million hectares of protected Amazonian rainforest. Thirty companies, including international heavyweights such as flipflop giant Havaianas, have also joined, committing to source their raw materials from certified producers in the region.
How to support: Look out for the Origens Brasil stamp when you shop, or find vendors through their website.
Movimiento Ciudadano Frente al Cambio Climático (MOCICC) (Citizens’ Movement to Confront Climate Change)
MOCICC is a Peruvian civil society movement to catalyze climate action at the local and national level. The movement campaigns on several fronts, including small-scale and urban agriculture, clean energy, Amazon protection and conservation, and international climate commitments.
Deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon is lower in territories occupied by Indigenous peoples than in those in private or state hands, and MOCICC’s Amazon efforts are centered around boosting recognition of territorial rights for Amazonian Indigenous peoples such as the Wampis, Awajún and Achuar, which contributes to human rights and climate goals both.
How to support: From signing up for newsletters to participating in campaigns, MOCICC offers a range of opportunities to get involved in their work here.
Cuencas Sagradas: Territorios para Vida (Sacred Watersheds: Territories for Life)
Cuencas Sagradas is a campaign initiated by Indigenous peoples and local communities in the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Amazon to permanently protect over 35 million hectares of sacred and biodiverse rainforest through a comprehensive, transnational Bioregional Plan.
The plan aims to demonstrate that extractive industries are not the only viable form of development in the region, “but that there are other possibilities that don’t require the pollution of forests and rivers.” It calls on the Ecuadorian and Peruvian governments, as well as financial institutions and the private sector, to halt the advancement of extractive industries, infrastructure megaprojects and enhanced access to the region; ensure transparency and conscience in public policy and its implementation; and guarantee the rights of Indigenous peoples, including territorial rights, as well as the rights of Nature itself.
How to support: Add your signature to this declaration.