Lola Alli praises Dom Phillips and pledges to protect the Amazon | Brazil

The politician likely to become Brazil’s new environment minister has praised slain British journalist Dom Phillips and said the incoming government of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will struggle to honor the memory of the rainforest martyrs who were killed while trying to protect the Amazon.

Talk to the Guardian after Lula’s historic election victory on SundayAnd the Marina Silva He said Brazil now has an opportunity to build a “new democratic ecosystem” where conservation, sustainability and the climate crisis will take center stage after Jair Bolsonaro’s era of Amazon destruction.

“It is sad to know that so many people who dreamed of this moment and fought for this moment are no longer here. This is what lies behind such a great effort to honor them,” said Silva, an Amazon-born ecologist who served as Lula’s Minister of Environment from 2003 to 2008 and was recently elected to Congress.

Silva praised Phillips and Brazilian Indigenous Expert Bruno Pereirawho were killed in the Amazon in June – a crime that shocked the world and Expose the environmental catastrophe that occurred under Bolsonaro’s leadership.

“This is a long-running struggle and it is unfortunate Chico Mendes, Sister Dorothy [Stang]Dom Phillips, Bruno and everyone else who has fallen as part of this struggle [are no longer with us]Silva, who also honored indigenous and environmental activists killed during Bolsonaro’s four-year administration, said.

In his first speech as president-elect, Lula pledged to make the environment one of his government’s priorities, telling reporters: “We will fight for the complete eradication of forests in the Amazon.”

said Lula, who has succeeded in significantly reducing deforestation during his tenure of government Brazil It will regain its leadership role in the fight against the climate crisis and is open to international cooperation to protect its environment.

Norway’s environment minister said on Sunday that the Amazon Fund – a billion-dollar international fund designed to support efforts to protect the Amazon – will be reactivated, After being frozen as a result of “direct collision with Bolsonaro” due to deforestation.

Lula is expected to send a high-level delegation to the COP27 climate summit next month in Egypt.

“Brazil and the planet need the Amazon alive,” Lula told reporters, vowing to crack down on illegal mining, logging and livestock farming. “One steady tree is worth more than tons of timber illegally mined by those who think only of easy profits.”

“When an Aboriginal child is killed by the greed of environmental predators, a part of humanity dies as well,” Lula added.

Such commitments were “a matter of honoring all the legacies and memories of all those who lost their lives, so that Brazil can be a democratic country that fights inequality in a sustainable way,” said Marina Silva, who was born in the remote rubber-tapping community in the Amazon state of Acre.

Marcio Astrini, head of an umbrella group for NGOs called Climate Observatory, said he was encouraged by Lula’s message.

“This is the first time I’ve heard a president-elect talk about putting an end to deforestation in the Amazon. He wouldn’t have needed to do it, if he wasn’t convinced it was possible,” Astrini said. “I think he’s really convinced that the environmental agenda is Something that should be treated as a priority in his government.”

Asterini admitted that Amazon’s problems won’t go away overnight. Deforestation numbers – That increased dramatically during the Bolsonaro era – It is unlikely to decline significantly next year due to the corrupt “inheritance” left by the right-wing incumbent.

The destruction of the Amazon exploded in the lead-up to the elections as environmental criminals raced to destroy the rainforest before Bolsonaro lost power. An area about the size of Greater London It was lost last month alone.

“But you have to start somewhere,” Astrini said. “The next four years will be an opportunity for us to restore what has been destroyed and build consensus so that we never again witness … the same kind of destruction.”

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