Target: Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil
Goal: Encourage the Brazilian government to find economic alternatives to deforestation for those who live in poverty near the rainforest
The rainforests of South America are some of the last untamed wilds left on the planet, filled with unique plant and animal species that we have yet to discover. But these wilds are vanishing. In the 1970s, only about 1% of the rain forest was deforested. Now, in 2014, we are up to 25% and are losing approximately 1% per year. This is largely due to the economic state of Brazil, which ranks highest in rain deforestation, and to the state of those who live below the poverty line. Many of these impoverished Brazilian citizens are forced to go into the rainforests to try and eke out a living by selling wood, or simply cutting down the trees to create a small farm.
More than 30% of native Brazilians live below the poverty line. That is 54 million people, out of a population of 180 million. The top 10% of the nation’s wealthy hold more than half the wealth, and those below the poverty line are left to scrape by with a mere 0.7%. There is an enormous amount of farm land that is left idle due to property ownership conflicts, so the poor are driven into the rainforest to try to make whatever living they can. This includes chopping down trees for timber or wood pulp to make paper, or simply to clear land for farming and grazing.
What makes this situation even worse is that there have been plans in place for over a decade to help these impoverished people and to improve the overall economic state of Brazil. Programs like Avanca Brasil, which was supposed to create jobs by developing new settlements as well as damns, oil fields, and the like, have never gotten out of the planning stages. Other programs to help restrain deforestation, including redistributing much of the country’s idle farmland, never made it off the drawing board. There is no excuse for the virtual genocide of the rain forests and everything that lives within them, and we need your help to find ways to stop it.
Dear President Dilma Rousseff,
The rainforests in your country are stunningly beautiful, eminently mysterious, and in a state of crisis. Approximately 1% of the rain forest is being deforested every year, and much of this is due to the lack of aid for the impoverished citizens of your country. 30% of your population lives below the poverty line and many of them turn to the rain forest when they have no other way to make a living. We ask that you find and fund economic alternatives to deforestation to those in poverty that live and work near the rain forests.
The rainforests in your country and around the world are not a renewable resource. Once they are destroyed, there will be no taking it back. We need to act now to prevent that horrible future from happening, and we cannot do it without your help.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Flickr User Wakx