People from the forests gathered in Sena Madureira, Acre, to denounce the false solutions of green capitalism and demand their right to their lands. The Jaminawa’s regain of their territory was celebrated as an example of the power of the peoples union.
Published by Amigos da Terra Brasil
Between June 15 and 17, 2018, indigenous peoples and communities who live and work in the forest gathered in Sena Madureira, Acre, to denounce the false solutions proposed by green capitalism for environmental and climatic degradation – paradoxically caused by the capitalist logic of unsustainable production and consumption itself. Projects that believe in the fallacious principle that it is possible to continue polluting the earth, water and atmosphere in a certain point of the planet, while "compensating" for this pollution by maintaining forests in another, were denounced. Other than impossible, these measures also end up hampering populations that do relate to forests in a balanced way – indigenous and small local communities – who end up losing autonomy over their territories, their production capability and their subsistence.
The state of Acre is seen as a "laboratory" for these green capitalism "compensation" policies. There, traditional communities are suffering at the hands of these REDD, REDD+, REM or PES projects – a pack of complicated acronyms that stand for a group of even more complicated names: REDD stands for "Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation"; REM stands for "REDD Early Movers", and PES means "Payment for Environmental Services". All that these acronyms and names have in common are its measures of green capitalism to continue to pollute freely, at the expense of the rights of indigenous and traditional populations, who, when deceived to accept such projects, lose their rights over their lands.
In sum, polluter governments and companies from the global north buy "pollution credits", taking away from communities from the south their right to manage their own land: they buy the right to continue polluting by violating rights elsewhere, hence disregarding other peoples sovereignty over their territory. They privatise and financialise nature. They hinder local land usage, fishing and planting, thus hindering the survival of these people. They confuse communities with strange terms, making use of a language alien to people, and seduce them with false promises – confuse to divide, divide to dominate: that is how green capitalism works. But in Sena Madureira, just as previously in Xapuri, the forest peoples revealed the antidote to these attacks: unite to resist, resist to set free.
As if to emphasize the importance of this meeting, while the dialogue took place in Sena Madureira, the aviation companies met in Montreal, Canada, to discuss those "compensation" measures, which in no way reduce pollution levels and which cause violations of rights in the territories where are implemented. The expansion of airports in the world and the highly polluting air industry has also been criticized, and is an example of how the "compensation" logic works: despite all the inflicted rights violations, companies maintain their "green speech" as if they were actually addressing the problems that they themselves create. In Porto Alegre, for example, Fraport, a German company that operates the local airport, plans to eject Vila Nazaré, which has been in the region for 60 years, so that it can extend the runway for a few hundred meters. The expulsion of people, as usual, occurs in a violent and arbitrary manner, without any transparency in the process – against the will of Vila Nazaré’s community. On the one hand, a community being expelled from its land for the expansion of an airport; on the other, populations losing the right to their territory due to "compensation" projects; in the middle, a destructive logic, where companies attack rights at all ends and harm the forest peoples and also the peoples of the cities – a logic against which these peoples rise.
Read bellow the full document produced at the meeting in Sena Madureira, attended by the indigenous Apurinã, Huni Kui, Jaminawa, Nawa, Nukini, Jamamadi, Manchineri, Ashaninka do Envira and Yawanawa, by representatives of traditional communities in the interior of Acre, by rubber tappers from Xapuri, among many organisations from various states (Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Rio Grande do Sul and Rondônia) such as Friends of the Earth Brazil, the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and the World Forests Movement (WRM).
Sena Madureira Declaration, 17th of June, 2018
We, the inhabitants of the forest, the rubber tappers, the Apurinã, Huni Kui, Jaminawa, Nawa, Nukini, Jamamadi, Manchineri, Ashaninka do Envira and Yawanawa indigenous people here present, the members of solidarity organisations from various states of Brazil (such as Acre, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Rio Grande do Sul and Rondônia) and the university professors gathered from June 15 to 17, 2018 in Sena Madureira, Acre – ancestral land of the Jaminawa people – for the "Fourth Meeting of Capacity Building and Articulation of Forest Peoples in Confronting False Solutions", hereby declare:
- We undergird the demands and denunciations of the Xapuri Declaration, in particular the rejection of green capitalism’s false solutions, such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), PES (Payment for Environmental Services), logging, as well as any measure of climate or environmental "compensation" through the purchase of pollution credits or similar;
- Committed to the Xapuri Declaration, we carry forward the spirit of unity among peoples and the strength to face the "solutions" offered by capitalism to the crises caused by capitalism itself;
- The Jaminawa's regain and occupation of their ancestral territories – Cayapucã, São Paulino and Caieté – serves as an example of this union’s power and strength to face the attacks of the capitalist muscle against the peoples. This victory invigorates and empowers each and every one of us – communities, peoples and organizations present – taking our common struggle forward;
- We emphasize the importance of the words of Pope Francis in the Encyclical Laudato-Si (paragraph 171): "The strategy of buying and selling “carbon credits” can lead to a new form of speculation which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide. This system seems to provide a quick and easy solution under the guise of a certain commitment to the environment, but in no way does it allow for the radical change which present circumstances require. Rather, it may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors."
- Likewise, we highlight the condemnation of nature financialisation measures contained in paragraph 11 of the Declaration of the Alliance of Guardians and Children of Mother Earth (November 28, 2015), which says, regarding the primary forest areas of the planet which are traditionally under the care of indigenous peoples: "These ecosystems must not be used as part of a carbon market mechanism that quantifies and commodifies Mother Earth, branded as payment for ecosystem services, carbon trading, carbon offsets, carbon pricing, REDD, CDM, biodiversity offsets and financialisation of Nature; turning nature into “units” to be sold in financial markets."
- We reject the REM (REDD Early Movers) program, funded by the German public bank KfW, which induces communities to accept the logic of green capitalism and uses the state of Acre, improperly, as an example of "success" in sustainable development. In fact, the program divides communities and threatens peoples' autonomy over land use in their own territories, jeopardizing their food sovereignty and their traditional customs and knowledge. These same problems can happen in Mato Grosso, a state where recently the program has started being implemented;
- In addition, the money from these projects does not respond to the wishes and needs of indigenous and traditional populations, such as the demarcation of indigenous lands and land regularisation of small farmers in areas affected by measures of green capitalism. Even today there is no transparency on how such resources are applied, as we have already denounced in the Xapuri Declaration. We demand that Federal prosecutors hold projects accountable;
- We disallow any policy built within offices without prior consultation (in accordance with ILO Convention 169) and participation of indigenous and traditional populations. Any definition of measures that concern these populations must start from the bottom, from within the communities;
- We offer solidarity to the peoples of all the states of Brazil and the countries of the global South that suffer this same violence from green capitalism; we urge the peoples of the northern countries not to fall for the "green speech" tricks of companies, governments and NGOs and question financial investments such as the REM program and the Amazon Fund, among others;
- We vehemently reject the persecution, defamation and criminalization of the defenders of the territories, who have the courage to express and denounce the attacks of the promoters of green capitalism.
Lastly, strengthened by the exchange of experiences among the most varied peoples during these three days, we continue to hold our heads high, believing that if we stand united, we have all the conditions to fight against the false solutions of green capitalism and to build alternative forms of sustainable life in the territories, respecting peoples’ plurality. We invite all peoples of the forests and communities who suffer the violations of this inhuman and predatory system to, together with us, follow a path through which it can be possible to overcome the destructive logic of capital.