Last week, Brazil’s Congress shocked the world by suddenly fast-tracking and passing PL2903, the Marco Temporal bill. This bill paves the way for the unprecedented destruction of the Amazon Rainforest by stripping Brazil’s Indigenous people of their legal rights to the land.
How does it work? If it becomes law, ancestral lands inhabited by Indigenous people before 1988 will not be recognized as Indigenous territory. This severely limits the amount of land that is protected by Indigenous stewards, opening the rest of the Amazon up for accelerated commercial exploitation.
Why does that matter? Apart from being a vicious attack on Indigenous land rights, this hands the keys to the Amazon over to the mining, logging, and agribusiness industries. Because the entire world relies on Indigenous stewardship of the Amazon for a stable climate, this has global repercussions for everyone.
This makes me sick to my stomach, and I hope it does you, as well. We’ve all heard a lot about how important the rainforest is and how bad climate change is. It’s daunting. But this is a very specific action that will have devastating long-term effects if we don’t stop it.
What can I do? Right now, activists are hard at work lobbying the Senate to block this bill after it passed in Congress. However, the President of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, needs to feel much more international public pressure. The best way to help activists right now is to blast Pacheco on social media so he knows the world is watching. His handle is @rodrigopacheco (insta, twitter).
Here is a post from Brazillian youth activist Txai Suruí that you can share. (Feel free to repost the video.) Here’s her tweet. As both of those posts mention, there’s also a petition 👉 together.earth.
Getting hundreds of thousands of signatures there could make a real difference. Sign it and tell your friends.
What happens if that doesn’t work? Brazilian President Lula de Silva can veto the bill if it passes the Senate. He has already claimed that he will, but some activists are concerned that he has said this before on other Indigenous issues only to turn his back at the last moment. If pressuring the Senate fails, attention will turn to President Lula. But we’re not there yet.
Is there any other way to stop it besides relying on the Senate and the President? Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court is also simultaneously expected to rule on the constitutionality of this bill by June 7. Protests urging a favorable Supreme Court ruling are now underway in Brazil.