President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, left, and former Environment Minister Marina Silva

Brazil’s Environment Minister ‘Giving Up’ on Saving the Rainforest

May 15, 2008 04:31 PM
by Liz Colville
Deforestation and development in the Amazon continue, leading Brazil’s award-winning environment minister to resign in frustration after five years in office.

30-Second Summary

Marina Silva, who was appointed under President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2003, has endured several setbacks in her plan to protect the Amazon rainforest, the so-called “lungs of the Earth.”

President Lula’s second term has seen dam-building and road projects take precedence over Silva’s proposal for sustainability in the area—a plan that was taken away from Silva and “handed to a business-friendly fellow minister,” writes the Independent.

Marcelo Furtado, the campaign director of Greenpeace Brazil, told the Independent, “Although Lula has adopted the environmental talk, the practice is development at whatever cost.”

Silva, who has won the Goldman prize, grew up in the Amazonian region of Acre and worked as a rubber tapper with her father. She cofounded the rubber tappers’ union with Chico Mendez as an adult.

Environmentalists are disappointed and pessimistic
about Silva’s resignation. The Amazon rainforest is one of the largest sources of water and wildlife in the world, but recent research shows that the rainforest could be depleted by as much as 55 percent in the next 22 years. Deforestation appears to be rapidly increasing in Brazil, as land is cleared for more crop growth.

President Lula appointed the Environment Secretary of Rio de Janeiro as Silva’s replacement on May 14.

Headline Link: ‘I give up, says Brazilian minister who fought to save the rainforest’

Background: Progress Stalled in Lula’s Government

Reactions: President and Environmental Groups Respond to Silva’s Departure

Key Players: Marina Silva

Related Topic: Food Prices Contributing to Brazil’s Deforestation Rates

Reference: Facts on the Amazon Rainforest


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