“The Amazon is on fire, putting Indigenous lives, biodiversity, and the global climate at great risk. If we lose the Amazon, we lose the fight against climate change.”Sonia Guajajara, Executive Coordinator of the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples
As summer in North America begins and the burning season in the Amazon approaches, Sonia Guajajara’s words remind us to act urgently. The Amazon is on fire, Indigenous lives are under attack, and the tipping point – the point at which the degradation of the Amazon’s ecosystem is irreversible – isn’t just near. It’s here.
Just a few years ago we thought we had ten years to act on climate change and that the tipping point of the Amazon was at 50% deforestation, but corporations and governments have either been slow to act or failed altogether. The reality is that the climate crisis and the tipping point are here now. We have just a few years – not decades – to turn this around. We have no time to waste.
According to the Science Panel for the Amazon, “Current deforestation across the Amazon basin is at 17% and approaching 20% in the Brazilian Amazon.” The 150-member panel of leading scientists, Indigenous people, and experts estimate that the tipping point will be reached at only 20 to 25% deforestation. We must take bold and immediate action now to avert the tipping point and protect the Amazon and our global climate.
In honor of Amazon Watch’s 25th anniversary, we have just shared our 2021-2025 Strategic Plan to protect and defend the Amazon in solidarity with Indigenous peoples. Our plan builds upon 25 years of work to protect the Amazon rainforest and defend Indigenous peoples’ rights, lives, and territories with bold and ambitious goals and objectives, including the call to permanently protect 80% of the Amazon by 2025.
We commit to working in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and a growing global movement calling for urgent action to permanently protect the Amazon, defend the defenders, and advance climate justice. Considering the Amazon is at a tipping point, we commit to address root causes and threats to the Amazon and seek systemic solutions while opposing false solutions like carbon offsets. We recognize that the systems that continually violate human rights also destroy the Earth and must be dramatically transformed or abolished.
The reality is Indigenous peoples have declared an “Indigenous Emergency” due to the threats and attacks to rights, lives, and territories, including the spread of COVID-19. We must take action now to show our solidarity and protect the Amazon before it’s too late.
At Amazon Watch, we focused intently during this time of crisis to put together our plan to address this growing crisis.
Let’s stand together to protect, defend, and decolonize!