Victory in the Amazon

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

Indigenous group in Brazil wins decades-long battle against illegal loggers in the Amazon.

A victory in a decades-long court battle provided relief for a special part of the Amazon rainforest and for the Ashaninka indigenous people who live there, as their 1990s lawsuit against illegal logging interests finally ended with a public statement of apology and a $3 million award for compensation.

Forestry companies and their legal teams acknowledged the “enormous importance of the Ashaninka people as guardians of the forest, zealous in the preservation of the environment,” in their official apology which claimed regret “for all the ills caused.”

Francisco Piyãko, part of Ashaninka leadership said, “These resources come to enhance existing actions, to generate sustainability for our people, our land, so that it helps to strengthen us to continue the broader project of environmental protection and maintenance of our ways of life.” Yale’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies suggested that the Attorney General, Augusto Aras, believes this case could be a turning point in environmental and indigenous peoples lawsuits. Let's hope he's correct because the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has shown very little interest in the importance of protecting the rainforests of his nation, and there surely can't be any illegal logging firms who aren't aware of the critical opprobrium generated by their actions. Beginning in 1980, forestry firms started harvesting mature cedar and mahogany trees for the European furniture trade in the Kampa do Rio Amônia Indigenous Reserve. The money awarded in the settlement will be paid over 5 years, and will be put mainly towards reforestation projects.

“The case will define hundreds of thousands of cases on massive environmental crimes in Brazil,” Antonio Rodrigo, the attorney for Ashaninka, said according to Latin Post.

Let's hope that this is the start of a significant reversal in the fortunes of the Brazilian rainforest.

Possible Rainforest Saviour: Bill Gates has just invested in a company that grows palm oil in a lab to save the rainforests.