Benki Piyãnko in his village, Apiwtxa, explaining about his work with agroforestry systems
Deforestation in the Amazon
Deforesting was one of the greatest catastrophes that happened in our territory. People felled our forests, and that made our rivers very dry. There were many species of fish that disappeared, as the forest has been cut down, many kinds of animals also disappeared, or disappeared from that region at least. We have experienced a lot more heatwaves now, almost unbearable heatwaves.
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There would be rains during the summer time as if it were winter time, and also dryness during the rainy season. There’s been growing lightning storms and hurricane storms that would come and uproot many trees. We had great floods that caused many animals to die, and even people. Because of climatic changes, there are many species of trees whose fruits are borne before the correct time of the year.
All the people who live in the forest realize that over the last 30 years, the changes have been very significant.
It is man who has been perpetrating all this disaster. We see mining and oil business coming into our area and invading our rivers. There were gold mines, with many areas of the forest burned or logged, and we have seen many industries moving into the area that pollute the air, significantly. We see all the rubbish created by these industries, not only plastic but also cans and all the waste being thrown in our rivers.
Human Rights Watch on Tuesday published the 165-page report “Rainforest Mafias: How Violence and Impunity Fuel Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon,” outlining the ways gangs exhibiting this illegal, criminal behavior not only threatens the world’s largest rainforest but also the people who live in and around it.
All our worry about the destruction that is happening makes us take our message as indigenous peoples to the whole world, speaking about these problems. Our environment, our natural fruits, animals and plants are the security of our lives.
And if we don’t take care of all these species, of this richness of nature, we are heading towards a great catastrophe that may affect us in a very deep way. That’s why my work as a leader is to try to show people how we can change this attitude, and we can change all of this.
That’s why I have come out of my village to go outside and show to other people with my projects what can be done to protect our environment. MORE