President Lula of Brazil Is Trying to Stop Amazon Deforestation

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the newly elected president of Brazil, is elevating environmentalists to high government posts. Joenia Wapichana, for instance, is on her way to becoming the first indigenous woman to head the nation’s office of Indigenous Affairs. When Lula swears her in in February, she will begin working there. In the last election, Lula defeated former President Jair Bolsonaro. Wapichana, though, is only getting going. She reportedly rattled a traditional rattle, or noisemaker, as she went through each room in the agency, according to an Associated Press account from a recent day.

She was seeking for guidance from her ancestors in a purification ceremony. “Yoohoo, Funai is ours,” the indigenous employees there yelled as she passed by their workplaces. Funai is the name of the agency, the National Indigenous People Foundation. The agency’s previous executives were criticized for not doing enough to save the Amazon rain forest. A 2022 analysis of satellite images revealed that deforestation—the word for the removal of trees—rose under Bolsonaro’s administration. According to certain environmental organizations, deforestation in Brazil was occurring more slowly prior to his election.

Lula employs people like Wapichana in positions where they may contribute to the expansion of indigenous peoples’ protected territories and the reduction of deforestation. A researcher with Brazil’s environmental law enforcement agency, Ibama, is George Porto Ferreira. According to him, Lula hired personnel with the ability to “reverse all the environmental destruction” done by the Bolsonaro administration. But others worry that Lula won’t be able to fulfill all of his desires. Lula’s performance as president during his previous tenure was not as good. Furthermore, a few Bolsonaro supporters continue to hold big states in the Amazon and are unlikely to readily modify their views. Bolsonaro’s backers believe that because Lula’s plans limit land development, the economy will suffer.

 

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