Activistas indígenas bloquearon carreteras durante dos días en la Amazonía ecuatoriana en 2019 para protestar contra un proyecto hidroeléctrico. Esta imagen fue enviada por Javier Clemente al concurso de fotografía GLF Amazonía.

“We can make the Amazon the powerhouse of action”

Memorable quotes from the GLF Amazonia digital conference

This post is also available in: Español Portuguese (Brazil)

Time is running out for the Amazon Rainforest. In as little as a decade, deforestation could cause the world’s largest rainforest to cross a tipping point and collapse, leading to a “death spiral” as the forest transforms into a grassland-type ecosystem. With it will go the home of a tenth of the world’s biodiversity, around 400 different Indigenous groups and a vast number of potential medicines and other resources.

But the world is not staying silent. At least, not the thousands of people around the world who on 21 to 23 September listened in as experts, policymakers, Indigenous leaders, activists, artists and others discussed ways to save the Amazon during GLF Amazonia – the largest-ever global conference focused on this biome. Here are some key quotes to take away from the event:

On Indigenous Communities

“We have the language, the moon phases, and we have the learning of our lineage – and through this we preserve everything in order to develop our native community.” – Walter Sangama, President, Federation of Kichwa Indigenous Peoples of Region San Martín (FEPIKRESAM)

“We have proven [that] without this land we are nothing. We breathe what this land is suffering, what the water is suffering. We eat what comes from nature and the Earth.” – Benki Piyāko, Ashaninka Community Leader, Terra Kampa do Rio Amônia

“The Indigenous have always practiced bioeconomy. We never called [this] ‘bioeconomy’. This is common: use the forest in an ecological way. This is normal for us. It’s normal for the Indigenous Peoples.” – José Neto, Ygarapé

“There’s no future to the Amazon if we separate the natural history of the Amazon and the history of the people that have lived in this so-important region for about 12 million years.” – Eduardo Góes Neves, Professor of Brazilian Archaeology, Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, University of São Paulo (MAE-USP)

On Women

“Our voices have to be listened to, and we [women] are equals. I am very proud to see all these young children that have caught onto this. We show them the value of taking care of our land. To be a female guard of the land, and see all the girls that have been empowered…to see them and the love they have for their territory.” – Alexandra Narvaez, President, Shamecco Women’s Association

“For too long we have stayed in silence. Now it’s the time and turn for indigenous women to empower ourselves. It’s important to enhance and support the capacity of our people in different plans for sustainable development.” – Caroline Jacobs, Makushi woman

On Taking Action

“It is time to act now, by reversing the trend and stopping deforestation and degradation. We can make the Amazon the powerhouse of action, an inspiration for the planet where people and nature can thrive together.” – Tasso Azevedo, Coordinator for MapBiomas & SEEG initiatives, former Chief of Brazilian Forest Service

“Nature, climate and agriculture are three sectors that are often isolated, but they should work together. When we talk about deforestation, we are also talking about a change in productive proceedings in the whole world, and those changes are big.” – Marcello Brito, Leader and co-facilitator, Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forest and Agriculture

“Solving deforestation can contribute more than a third to the climate solution to 2040, and it is by working with partners that we can reach that goal.” – Christine Dragisic, Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State

On Financing Change

“In order to tackle climate change, we have to tackle first the inequalities, poverty and misery that affect over 80 percent of people on the planet.” – Marcello Brito, Leader and co-facilitator, Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forest and Agriculture

“When you leave your money in your bank without asking where and how it would be invested, there is a risk that it would go somewhere you don’t like.” – Leonardo Letelier, Founder and CEO, SITAWI Finance for Good

“It is also important to have private sector incentives – like certification scans – to promote zero deforestation, contribute to the protection of biodiversity and shift the production methods.” – Patricia Sugui, Sustainability Manager, CJ Selecta

“We have to level up and shift from business models into investment models. We have to bring social lenders and financial services, which are important to producers and small businesses.” – Yovita Ivanova, Senior Manager, CIAT

“We need a green economy that can guarantee that the 30 million Brazilians living in the Amazon region have their social rights respected. There’s no environmental security without social security.” – Flávio Dino, Governor of Maranhão State, Brazil

And some final comments…

“The forest doesn’t burn. It’s burned.” – Ane Alencar, Director of Science, Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM)

“There is no physical way to save the climate without dramatically and very quickly reversing deforestation in the coming decade.” – Rocio Sanz Cortes, Managing Director, Supply Emergent

“There’s not only one Amazon. There are many Amazons.” – Miriam Leitão, Journalist, Globo



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