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21 September 2010 | | |

NO to Monoculture Tree Plantations

Environmentalists against “monoculture” in Brazil

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Several Brazilian organizations submitted on Tuesday morning in Porto Alegre a letter addressed to Environment Secretary and President of the Environmental Council of Rio Grande do Sul State, Giancarlo Tusi Pinto, about the different social and environmental impacts caused by pine and eucalyptus tree monoculture plantations in the region.

The letter, submitted at the State Foundation of Environmental Protection FEPAM, highlights the serious environmental impacts, loss of biodiversity, human rights violations and criminalization of social movements caused by the rapid advance of companies dedicated to large-scale tree monoculture plantations in Rio Grande do Sul.

The document was submitted in the International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations celebrated on Tuesday, September 21st. NAT/Friends of the Earth Brazil, Instituto Biofilia, and the Instituto Gaucho de Estudios Ambientales were some of the groups that participated. There were also members of REDES/Friends of the Earth Uruguay, a country where there are over one million hectares planted with eucalyptus and pine monoculture plantations. The environmentalists reaffirmed their commitment to fight the installation and consolidation of the cellulose and forestry project in Rio Grande do Sul, and the region, including parts of the Uruguayan and Argentinean territory. The letter also highlights the violations to state regulations on environment by agribusiness companies.

But the activists were not received by Secretary of Environment Tusi Pinto, so they gave the letter to his assistants and left FEPAM. Outside the building, there were tens of members of Friends of the Earth Latin American and the Caribbean, and activists from several Brazilian organizations, in addition to some representatives of social movements. They all pasted stickers on the doors of the building, protesting against the forestry policies of the government and reminding them of the International Day against Monoculture Tree Plantations.

Then, the demonstrators went to the public market of the city to share with the people their demands. They entered the place where many products are sold, especially food, through the door where the Agrarian Reform Shop is located, owned by the Landless Rural Workers Movement of Brazil. The activists aimed to reaffirm the value of local food production, peasant agriculture, and the lifestyles of rural workers. Inside the market, the activists sung “eucalyptus are not food”, and then they carried out different performances to highlight that tree monocultures are not linked to the local tradition and have negative impacts against the population. Finally, the demonstrators resumed their march and displayed a huge flag in the Octavio Rocha Viaduct that read “monoculture is monofuture”.

The members of Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean were participating in the 4th Sustainability School organized by this environmentalist network which was held in a capacity-building center of the MST called Sepe Tiaraju, in Viamao, a few kilometers from Porto Alegre. The School will close their activities tonight.

In the afternoon, the activists will go to a press conference in the Legislative Assembly of Rio Grande do Sul about Socio-Environmental Conflicts and Human Rights Violations in Latin America. Then, they will be part of an international panel open to the public on the same issue. Both activities were organized by NAT/Friends of the Earth Brazil and legislative commissions on Human Rights, Health and Education.

Photo: Radio Mundo Real.

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