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Thu Mar 31, 2022, 03:22 PM

As the Amazon loses resilience, church and popular movements strive to intervene


This article on the Amazon is written from a Catholic POV. Non-Catholics are welcome to comment so long as they observe our Safe Haven rules.

The invasions at times involve setting fire to large land extensions, which can cause uncontrolled wildfires. In the years of 2019, 2020 and 2021, there has been an outstanding number of wildfires in the Amazon as a result of deliberate human action combined with severe droughts.

But new models of producing in the Amazon and organizing its peoples point to change. Bellini explained that over the past few decades many groups have been able to set up sustainable development projects in areas of land reform.

That is the case of the initiative promoted by the late U.S.-born Sr. Dorothy Stang in Anapu, Pará State, in association with local small farmers and forest collectors. Stang, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, was shot dead in 2005 by hitmen hired by big ranchers who opposed her project and wanted to grab its lands. But the work is ongoing with the help of Stang's colleagues.

Such initiatives have also been congregating Indigenous and quilombolas in other areas of the rainforest, Bellini added. "And it is not a coincidence that invaders have been attacking exactly the lands where such guardians of the rainforest live," she said.

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