January 21, 2020
#365ACTNOW – Amazon on Fire – Brasils Indigenous population united to fight the Jair Bolsonaro Government. The Indian Kayapo Chief Raoni welcomed over 500 Indian Leaders from more than 50 tribes in the Amazon to a meeting in january 2020. Their fight against fires, grabbing of indian land, illegal logging, gold and diamond mining has now been going on for 40 years and for Chief Raoni the TIME IS NOW. It is time to act and to build support for the planets biggest lungs and indigenous humans rights.
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The Amazon Rainforest Journey
Today, I will start to tell small stories from the Amazon for you to get more insight from the preparation of the meeting next week but also from my own work in the Amazon Rainforest in the 1990-beginning of 2000. Today, the team from the Raoni institute and UK travel into the meeting place. Security is high and it is not an easy travel. My memories from the time of travel in the Amazon are connected to safety and planning to minimise risks. But when sitting in the boat on Xingu River and see the rapids and hear the sounds from jungle it is like a paradise on earth. When you see the blue Macaw flying in the skies over the huge trees some of them up to 60 meters high – its beautiful. So the first you see when you travel into the jungle it is what nature have to offer. The water, the landscape (sometimes burned), trees, animals, and skies… And don’t be surprised when the rain comes – like to get into the shower in maximum level. But suddenly skies open up again and the sun drying everything up. A travel into the citizens of the rainforest take often more than a half day on the river sometimes up to 8-12 hours. A journey that gives you time to see and reflect and feel pain in your body… This is a journey my team of #amazonprotectors just started.
New Photo book – Spirit of the Amazon book by Sue and Patrick Cunningham
Arriving in the jungle
After such a long journey most of the team are tired and you need time for sleep…. The bed in the villages are hammocks and if you haven´t done it before it will take some time to learn how to find a position for a sleep. But, it is not only hammocks that are challenging. The mosquitos… the small pion, the once that you can´t hear. The bite is direct with blood and itching as a result. And then you have to think about the malaria mosquitos. They are more dangerous in the sunrise and sunset, in that time, the best saver is to cover the body with cloth…
The majority of the team are prepared for this, but I think most of the time on the river journey has been discussion on security, logistics and other practicalities… like – how to feed the 450 Indians in 4 days. (1 Indian eating about 1,5-2 chickens a day) The transportation issues has been under discussion for a long time. Indian leaders coming from all over the Amazon. The meeting will happen in the Kayapo village. The distance from the north to the south of the Kayapo reserve is the same as the distance between London to Glasgow in Scotland or between Stockholm – Gothenburg in Sweden. Not much of roads… so transport is a huge challenge.
And then it is issues of language…There are about 330 extant languages in Greater Amazonia, almost half of which have fewer than 500 speakers. It is not like to organize a EU meeting in Brussels with interpreter for each country/language.
Amazon voices now and 20 years ago
The Kayapo tribe who will host the meeting next week has been struggled more than 40 years to acquire and protect their land. 20 years ago I arrived to the area together with the Swedish television and its environmental team Dag Jonzon and Anders Höög. Fires and invation in indigenous land was one of the first emergency for our work. We met Daniel Nepstad – a scientist with deep knownledge in the unsustainable use of the rainforest. For my Swedish reader it could be of an interest to see the interview in documentary from the Swedish television even today – Anrop Amazonas
But, lets go to the CNN interview (see the full interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfWrPxhRgfs )with Daniel Nepstad some months ago. Much seams to be the same as year 2000, but with the leadership of the new rightwing president Bolsonaro, the scenarios are worse. Look at the map in the video below and see the outbreak of fires in 2019. Even if the former president Lula changed some regulation to minimize the deforestation – it was not enough to stop the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest. The Bolsonaro government fired Ricardo Magnus the director of INPE ( http://www.inpe.br/) when he reported that the rainforest fires increased with 30% in the year of 2019. Loggers, gold and diamonds miner and ranchers have recently escalated their invasion, emboldened by the Bolsonaro government´s discontinuation of environmental programmes and pro-agribusiness rhetoric. And even the support of education opportunities have been taken away from the indigenous people that are or will be critical to the new government policies and actions in the Amazon.
Support of education and story telling from the Amazon Rainforest is more necessary now than ever. To do so you need an infrastructure communication in place. That could be possible to be develop based on our work 20 years ago when Dag Jonzon and Anders Höög from the Swedish television introduced – first in the world – a satellite Mobile system when they went live on Swedish Television the millennium night 2000 from the Koatinemo village by the Xingu river. More about the entrepreneurial communication work in the story tomorrow.
Communication is key
We still waiting to establish good contact with our team on travel in the Xingu basin. It is a travel with a lot of challenges – one is communication. I would like, in the long term, establish a communication infrastructure that will help the tribes to be connected. In my story yesterday I named the Swedish Television team, Anders Höög and Dag Jonzon. In my eyes they could be named as “the entrepreneurs of change”. With Anders and Dag as leaders the Amazon Co-ops internet café could open in the beginning of year 2000. It was a breakthrough for the many citizens of the 100.000 in the city of Altamira. For the first time we could coordinate communication locally and abroad – a new hub for communication. I could see educational programmes be developed with the Indians living in Altamira. But it was also important for the Amazon Co-ops main activities. The internet café hub supported the trade of Brazil nuts, the health clinic, medicine farm, green pharmacy, voluntary carbon program and the Jungle resort Tataquara. More stories later on Amazon Co-op…
For us working in the city of Altamira the internet café was an important link to sources in Brazil and the outside world. The opportunities to develop a good communication infrastructure in the Amazon Rainforest is very good. Satellite are well placed over the Amazon region. Some already exist for other purpose as monitor forest and drug traffic.
When we talk about the needs and the values of Impact Investment in the Amazon Rainforest: It should partly be on Communication Infrastructure. This could be an important part of the tribes strategy in their fight to secure their land and to preserve the forest for future generations but also to minimize the risk of fires. So, that’s why I would like strength my work to give the Indians tribes a stronger voice of the values of the Amazon Rainforest.
9 Days still to raise money for the Indians through Facebook or Choose Love
With threats and illegal loggers – trying to plant trees
Contact is now established with the team in the jungle. More updates from them tomorrow – the day before the meeting start and leaders arriving.
As I mentioned yesterday about the two entrepreneurs from the Swedish Television, Dag Jonzon and Anders Höög, they where not the only Swedes who brought expertise to the work 20 years ago.
The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Karin Strömqvist-Bååthe from DHL Nordics helped us to with the start up of the first voluntary carbon offset program with the Tembe Indian tribe. As a community co-op we organized the educational programme with the government Indian organization Funai and the villages of the Tembe tribe. A theater group from the city of Belem helped us to introduce the concept of Carbon Offset.
After success of the educational program… Sorry to say it did not help us in the end. No government support with legislation and voices from authorities sounded….
We can’t help the Indians to be rich from the tree plantation….(after they saw the calculation of tree plantation for the coming 100 years – this calculation was necessary to get the project approved by the authorities).
So, after some time, we have to give up our plans. But lesson learned and when time is mature for actions this model could be used for the REDD development program in the Amazon Rainforest. More about REDD here is the link https://www.un-redd.org/
In the city of Altamira the Co-op created a nursery of different plants for new tree plantation program in the Indians reserves. But, it was not easy. Demarcation problems with threats of gunmen hinder us to fulfill our plans. At that time, another Swede, the European Commissioner of Environment, Margot Wallström visit us and to see how the EU could help us with certification of sustainable forest.
The issues of threats and illegal invasions in Indian land is still today a problem and that’s why the Indian tribes need the best support to guard their land from illegal invaders.
That’s why I ask you to be one of the #amazonprotectors
Bomb blast or Paradise?
Today you could start to read the article in the Guardian – that’s the story of todays reality that make me so angry with the leadership of Brazil. The story is important and one of many examples from the Amazon of Today.
From this “bombblast to a story that could inspire many leaders to act. The story of Tataquara. This was the heart of the Community Co-op 20 years ago. It was developed as a Sustainable Eco Resort in the Xingu basin on Island Tataquara.This is the other side of the coin – the alternative – what can be done if you invest in something that could be a place for harmony between people, animals and nature and also economical sustainable.
I remember my first step into the Island after a boat ride of 4 hours from Altamira. Sandy beach and sounds from the Howler monkeys. Some of the Indian leaders have pointed out that this could be a good place to establish a Eco hotel for the future. On my first night it was to sleep in the hammock between two trees with a mosquito net on top. The moon was giving us some light. But in the night it was dark. I could hear some steps in the sands… but could not see anything. My first thought was – of course – a jaguar…. I tried to wake up my wife but she could after some time calm me down…. it was one of the dogs from a village nearby that the family use a a warning clock – for dangerous animals…..
The days after this was amazing. Plans where developed and on the first tour around the island we where absolutely clear about what we will do on Tataquara, The influence from the Swedish environmental thinker was there. We decide to make a 3 chamber system for waste water. The turbines in the rapids to water to support the water and energy was also in the plans. The solar panels…also in the plans. And then it was the hotel rooms and restaurant with a meeting place. The open meeting place in the restaurant. This was a place where the Indians could come to give their stories of life to the visitors. And when you started to go from plans to implementation it was a lot of work. How to transport sand and material from the beach by the river up to the top of the island where the building should be build. It went to be one of the more drastic reality of life for animals in this part of the world. We bought a donkey. He was a success. He did help us but his life ended by an attack from a jaguar one of the nights.
When the visitor started to come it was an amazing place to introduce the life of the Rainforest and the Indigenous people life conditions. I remember the visitors from all of the world that also helped us with the investment and opinion making of the Island. Influencers from Canada was there, the Swedish parliamentarians, the EU Environmental Commissioner Margot Wallström, Gordon and Anita Roddick with their network and many more. Tataquara was later awarded by the tourist organization for its sustainability values.
So it is nice to show another picture than “a bomblast” as you can see in the Guardian today. The Amazon Rainforest don’t need to be “a bomblast”. We can together develop a model for the future generation where humans, animals and nature live together in balance.
See the video with this text and get the feelings of the alternative roadmap. Be one of us – #amazonprotectors
The top 10 medicinal plants from the Amazon Rainforest To visit the Indian tribes and their villages it is always connected to visit their gardens. Walking through the jungle to the gardens – a fantastic lesson of plants, trees and what they where used for. The top 10 medicinal plants from the Amazon Rainforest give you an insight of values of the Rainforest
This experience of plants was also an important part for the community co-op and its health program. They created a medicine plant farm and a green pharmacy in Altamira . This was an important part to support with medicine to the tribes own needs and based on the Indians own experience. The governments distribution of medicine was mostly based on what was possible to buy in the traditional market as business as usual. And Business as usual was not the model of the co-op.
It was always a problem find finance for the health program. Mostly the international finance eg. World Bank to health programs in the Amazon. It stayed in the hands of the government – only a small part was distributed to the Indian villages. Finance support and distribution could in the future organized in system of blockchains to be secured that money goes direct without the “middleman”.
Yesterday I had a short contact with the team preparing for the meeting that start today. But, after a short talk we lost contact. That’s a reality to be aware about. Soon as we are connected I will have some insight from the meeting with 450 Indian Leaders from more than 50 tribes. Until then I will give a bit of insight based on my earlier travel in the Amazon.
We now still have 6 Days to donate and for you to be a one of the #amazonprotectors – I am very pleased to see that more than 1000 people with nearly £13.000 have contributed so far. Facebook donations and ChooseLove together.
Looking back….into the future – Leadership Matters
The connection to the jungle in the Amazon Rainforest has been down for 2 days now but it is up again now. I had a short chat with the team. Updates from the meeting soon. Tonights opening of the meeting – Indian dance ceremony to welcome the tribes.
As you may remember from one of my earlier stories. The Swedish team that helped us to set up the internet structure in Altamira 20 years ago should be with us now…..
It is a need of a communication infrastructure in the Kayapo village where the meeting is going on now with 450 Indian leaders from more than 50 tribes. We need to create a hub for the Indians to stay in touch easy with each other and support their communication and interest to the outside world.
If we going back 20 years and see the interview with Daniel Nepstad in Dag Jonzon Swedish Television film. You easily get depressed why nothing has change. Why have we not used the time to act. For me the issue is leadership – Leadership Matters. Sustainability comes out from leadership. The Brazilian governments the last 20 years hasen´t done their homework. Its include the former president Lula . Now we can see the rightwing populist Bolsonaro take the worst un-sustainable road into the future for the Amazon Rainforest. In my last story on Sunday from the Amazon I will write about my conclusion with a reflections of the 20 years I have been in touch with issues in Brazil and the Amazon Rainforest.
We now still have 5 Days to donate and for you to be a one of the #amazonprotectors – I am very pleased to see that more than 1000 people with nearly £13.000 have contributed so far. Facebook donations and ChooseLove together.
Looking back….into the future 2 – Leadership Matters
The two Indian leaders from the Kayapo tribe Raoni Metuktire and Megaron Txucarramáe welcomed 450 Indians leaders from more than 50 tribes yesterday in the Kayapo village. It is a highly important meeting for all tribes. How to build a strategy to fight the Bolsonaro government and to protect the Amazon Rainforest. Time is NOW as some Indians earlier said to me.I met both of them earlier this year in London to listen to their stories and thoughtful leadership.Time is now to form the short and long term strategy for the Indian reserves. Some of the issues are reflected in the two articles from Reuters yesterday and today.
Good reading and it gives some basics from the meeting – Read and see the video here
This type of Indian leaders gathering has been done before and the first big meeting was organized in the City of Altamira 1989. But the meeting in the Amazon today has more representatives of tribes from all of the Amazon Rainforest. And the issues seams to live.…to raise awareness of the ecological and political atrocities committed by the Brazilian government and by illegal gold mining.
One of the Amazon Rainforest Protector of the Kayapo Indians under many years is the musician STING. He was in Altamira 1989. See the message from 2014 to Raoni Metuktire and Megaron Txucarramáe at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQbhgUczWEw&t=67s
On Sunday – the last day of the campaign for #amazonprotectors I will come back with a summery and conclusion based on my perspective of Climate Emergency and the Amazon Rainforest by locking back to get the steps into the future.
TIME is NOW to bring friends of the Amazon Rainforest together
Looking back 28 years when I the first time went to Brasil at the Rio Summit 1992. Just 7 years after the end of the dictatorship. A young democracy with huge challenges. The fight against poverty and to build opportunities for a growing up generation. In 1992 it was the Rio Summit, Jamie Lerner in Curitiba and Governor Brisola that gave me inspiration and hope for Brasil. But, I must say that the political leadership after this years has not been filled me with inspiration. The big gap between poor and rich have disturb me. Even if President Lula succeeded to give some of the poor people more money in their pocket it ended with Lula put money in his own pocket when he stayed as a leader of PT. The system of corruption stayed in the established political class and even helped the government Bolsonaro into power.
Why do I write this? The reason is – Brazil need a political leadership to encourage its citizens to lead away from corruption and to believe in science and democracy. If not, the Amazon Rainforest will never be restored. In a time when Global Climate Challenges pressure our planets system you have a President Bolsonaro who want to be like “the Great America of our dear Trump”. That’s the biggest threat now. If we don´t want to see a repeat of the 70.000 fires in the Amazon Rainforest – it is a need to put more political pressure in the time of Climate Emergency. Brasil need public policies, law enforcement and market agreements can stop felling and prevent the forest from reaching a point of no return. It is time for a new strategy. The TIME IS NOW as the indigenous leaders said.
TIME is NOW to bring friends of the Amazon Rainforest together.
We need all of them Instituto Socioambiental, Ethos, Amigos da Terra – Amazônia Brasileira, Greenpeace, Leonardo Di Caprio, Sting, Prince of Wales, Rainforest Foundations and alliances, AmazonWatch, WWF, Funai, Ibama, the Vatican, Norway, Germany and France…… the list of stakeholders to the Amazon Rainforest can be longer than this… Together we can put pressure on the political system and to challenge the political leaders in power.
As one of the Amazon protectors I would like to thank you all that have been contributing through sharing my stories and also some of you that have donated money to the Amazon Indigenous tribes that will help in the work to make their voice stronger in the time to come. I will also give a special thank you to Christine Burrill and Sue Cunningham that have contributed with so many great photos from the Amazon Rainforest. And with LOVE to the organization Help Refugees – Choose Love that have been together with me to raise awareness for the Indigenous People in the Amazon Rainforest.
And it is not to late to be one of the Amazon Protectors – the fundraising will go on.
Ps. Next week I will give you the exact amount on how much money we have raised up until today and how it will be used by the Indian Tribes.
Amazon Rainforest supporter via if you not using Facebook and not will do it with publicity use Choose Love and visit #amazonprotectors at their website Please share and act
Author : Kaj Embren