Bolsonaro’s Administration Attempts to Silence Indigenous Leaders for Criticizing Its Handling of the Pandemic

By Anna Buss for CP+ May 9, 2021

Under the rightwing presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazilians are once again witnessing intimidation tactics against anyone who speaks out against his government. Bolsonaro and his administration have attacked the press, specific journalists, a Supreme Court justice, opposition leaders, the health and science institution FIOCRUZ, and many others. This disturbing trend has just targeted two indigenous leaders. However, this latest strategy failed.

Brazil’s Federal Police agency subpoenaed Sônia Guajajara, the executive coordinator for the Articulation Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) on April 26 to respond to charges of slander as well as the dissemination of fake news. These accusations are the result of her appearance in a 2020 eight-part web documentary series called Maracá. In it, Guajajara, along with dozens of other natives, activists, artists, and academics denounced numerous health protocol violations committed against indigenous communities by drawing links between Brazil’s 521 years of genocidal history to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

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Why Brazil’s President Is a Dangerous Steward for the Amazon

By Anna Buss for CounterPunch.org on April 23, 2021

Carved out of the rainforest, the Trans-Amazonia Highway is a 2.500 mile-road that connects seven northern states in Brazil. The audacious project was started in 1972 during the country’s Military Dictatorship (1964-1985) with two objectives: development and security of the “unoccupied” region. In order to bring companies and large-scale farmers there, the government offered large portions of land, tax exemption incentives and attractive financing. The move culminated with the expulsion of thousands of small farmers and entire tribes of indigenous peoples, solidifying a long history of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

On April 22, Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro spoke at the U.S. Climate Summit affirming his nation’s commitment “to eliminate illegal deforestation by 2030,” and he “anticipates Brazil’s goal of zero emissions to 2050.” He was one of 40 world leaders present. During his remarks, he also said Brazil is “on the forefront in combating climate change,” and that his administration is “complying with the measures to combat deforestation and preserve the Amazon.”

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Why Recycling is a ‘Pseudo-Solution’ to Reducing Plastic Waste

By Anna Buss for CounterPunch.org on March 29, 2019

Decades of consumerism, fueled by the concept of short-term convenience, has left our planet drowning in plastic waste.  Much of it is used just once and then thrown away, polluting oceans and contaminating our bodies.  At the center of this problem lies the effectiveness of eliminating plastic while its production remains high and there are fewer places that process it.  As a result, a few corporations and communities are being forced to deal with waste in other ways rather than recycling — the main form of plastic disposal many people have relied on over the years.

“The public opinion about [recycling] is very naive,” says Rowland Geyer, a Professor of Industrial Ecology at University of California Santa Barbara, who specializes in green supply chain management. Geyer wants to make one thing clear: recycling by itself is a ‘pseudo solution’ to eliminating plastic waste. “[People] recycle because they believe in it, but it is not a real part of the solution,” he adds.

In fact, eliminating plastic becomes almost a surreal idea when considering the staggering amount of plastic discarded each year.  In its June 2018 edition ‘Planet or Plastic, National Geographic’s Laura Parker’s bombshell article uncovered that 44% of all plastic that has ever been manufactured globally has been made since 2000.  Additionally, 448 million tons of plastic was produced in 2015 alone, with 40 percent of that — some 161 million tons — for single-use packaging that never gets recycled or incinerated.  In fact, until 2018, less than a fifth of all plastics was ever recycled, and only 12% was incinerated globally.  As a result, an estimated 8 million tons of plastic bottles A 2016 study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has projected that if considerable reduction in production is not implemented, oceans could have more plastic than fish by 2050.

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