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Agribusiness companies, backed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, are deforesting the Amazon at full speed. The NGO Greenpeace France went on site to see the extent of the damage… Extract from the magazine “1:15 p.m. on Sunday” of October 30, 2022.
Eric Moranval is Forests Campaigner at Greenpeace France. He campaigns in particular for the European Union to stop importing products linked to deforestation. For the first time, the environmental activist will go on the ground to see with his own eyes the burning of the Amazon. The agribusiness firms, which make a fortune in palm oil, soya, cattle, cocoa, coffee, wood, do their best to recover as much land as possible by burning it and driving out the populations.
“We’re going there in special conditions because it’s fire season right now. I’m going to an ecosystem and climatic conditions that I don’t know at all. I’ve never crossed the ocean. It’s going to be a big first”, he confides to the magazine “1:15 p.m. on Sunday” (replay). These hectares of forest are the property of the natives, ancestral lands that local communities, helped by NGOs like Greenpeace Brazil, are trying to recover.
“Violence is unfortunately omnipresent”
The expedition begins in Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas, in the heart of the primary forest. Eric has an appointment with Rômulo, the NGO’s correspondent in Brazil: “Welcome to the Greenpeace officehe says to the Frenchman who notices that the place is very secure. Brazil is in the Top 3 of the most dangerous countries for environmental and human rights defenders. In this warehouse, our armored 4x4s, because we are going to the border of deforestation where violence is unfortunately omnipresent.”
“Here is the map of the Amazon where we can see all the areas that have burned in the last sixty days, explains a Brazilian activist to Eric Moranval. The system combines images of high-risk locations with artificial intelligence to locate and measure the extent of burned areas.” Romulo clarifies: “The map we have here shows what we call the arc of deforestation. And the first six months of this year 2022 have been the worst we’ve seen. It’s estimated to be roughly 4,000 square kilometres. This figure is hard to imagine… but we are talking about 600,000 football pitches in just six months!”
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