Environment

‘War’ is coming to parts of the Amazon

Brazil's inability to rein in Amazon deforestation has led to a scenario of widespread lawlessness, conflict, and pessimism about the forest's future

amazon conflicts brazil
Law enforcement in an operation to crack down on illegal wildcat mining in the city of Jacareacanga, Pará. Photo: Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress

During last year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Brazil gave off some mixed signals about the environment. While 25-year-old indigenous activist Txai Suruí hushed crowds by saying that “the Earth is speaking, and it’s telling us there’s no more time,” the governor of northern Brazilian state Rondônia asked the global community to cut Amazon deforesters some slack.

“It is wrong to treat producers, ranchers, and loggers as villains,” said Marcos Rocha, during a conference. “The right thing to do is a transition, and not throttle our people, who suffer every day.”

That Mr. Rocha...

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