Dear Minister Freeland:
As Minister of Foreign Affairs, you have the power to make a statement on behalf of the Government of Canada condemning Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's policy-backed environmental destruction, and specifically for his ongoing inaction and lack of leadership in stopping the fires in the Amazon Rainforest.
As a world leader that claims to reconcile with Indigenous people and fight the effects of climate breakdown, Canada must make a firm and assertive statement that Bolsonaro's destructive policies and inaction during this Amazon emergency are inexcusable and destructive to the health of the Brazilian people and to the global climate.
We urge you to take a stand on this urgent and pressing situation.
Why is this important?
The Amazon Rainforest stands to make "a significant contribution to pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Coe [Earth Systems Scientist] likens it not to a pair of lungs, but to a giant air conditioner that cools the planet—one of our most powerful in mitigating climate change, alongside other tropical forests in central Africa and Asia—some of which are also currently burning" (for a more accurate look at the role of the Amazon: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/why-amazon-doesnt-produce-20-percent-worlds-oxygen/).
Its loss, together with our lack of political will to stop carbon emissions and the absence of means to capture carbon effectively are posing a severe threat to people worldwide.
Importantly, about one million Indigenous people live in the Amazon. It is also home to three million species of plants and animals (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-49433437).
These fires are material and deadly. And their frequency is spurred by Bolsonaro's policies, which have accelerated deforestation, up 88% (https://globalnews.ca/news/5794191/amazon-rainforest-fire-explained/), due to farming, logging, and drilling.
"The National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has recorded more than 74,000 fires so far this year [in the Amazon] – an 84 per cent increase on the same period in 2018. It’s the highest number since records began in 2013." (https://globalnews.ca/news/5794191/amazon-rainforest-fire-explained/).
Take a deep breath and imagine smoke filling your lungs on a darkened afternoon, just as residents of São Paulo did at 3 p.m. Monday, August 19.
How it will be delivered
The first batch of petition signatures was delivered in person to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on August 26. The next will be delivered on September 13.