How to build an economy capable of living with the forest | The World We Want

A quick glance at the news is enough for anyone to realize that the Amazon is going through a difficult time and is seriously threatened. But, more than talking about all the problems, we need to start pointing out ways that show where we want to go. How are we going to build an economy capable of coexisting with the forest? The answer is complex but, at the same time, simple: replace this model of economic development that we have in the Amazon today. A model that imposes on the Amazon the condition of a province, mineral, energy or agricultural.

It is urgent to break with the logic that for more than four centuries has conditioned regional development to an extractive matrix that imprisons the Amazon to external interests and condemns its population to live with the worst social indices in the country, subjugating generations to an eternal wait for development.

Among the many challenges posed, one of them has gained considerable media attention recently and is closely linked to all the others: mining. In a frank process of expansion in the Amazon, the mineral matrix needs to be overcome and replaced by other economic vectors capable of promoting the development of an economic matrix based on living with the forest, respecting rights and overcoming poverty. It will not be with the deepening of mining that we will free the Amazon from the logic that imprisons the eternal underdevelopment that feeds the destruction of forests and the many ways of life that sustain the coexistence of traditional peoples and communities with their territories.

In the Tapajós basin, it is already noticeable that a process of territorialization of a mineral matrix is ​​underway that tends to replace the garimpos by large mining ventures, largely financed with international capital that transfer mineral wealth out of the region without delivering the long-awaited development of the region. In addition to the transfer of regional wealth, this process ignores the thousands of miners who will soon become the main force to put pressure on the dozens of indigenous lands and conservation units that contribute to maintaining the ecological balance of the region and the Amazon biome. .

The energy issue in the Amazon region as a whole is another challenge that needs to be properly understood and addressed in the light of regional interests and biome conservation; there being no more space for an energy model based on centralized generation, which disregards diversification and produces a wide range of impacts on natural resources and violates fundamental rights and guarantees of the local population.

Breaking up with the economy of destruction that is based on soybean monoculture and extensive livestock farming is also among the challenges that demand our utmost attention, given that the infrastructure imposed to make such an economy viable continues to deepen inequalities and reproduce the underdevelopment that feeds of income and land concentration.

If we still don’t need a regional debate to define the steps for the ecological transition of the current economic order that imprisons us in this spiral of destruction, it is high time we demanded that the public power assume concrete commitments with the containment of this extractive economic matrix, and start the path that breaks with the deepening of this matrix and all the infrastructure that sustains it.

Finally, the time has come for Brazilian society to demand a national debate capable of redefining the role of the Amazon for national development and demanding that the process of building solutions for the Amazon take place in a deep dialogue with regional society and break with the historical logic of thinking about the Amazon from the outside in, without respecting the knowledge and practices of those who learned to live with the forest here. Otherwise, we will continue to reproduce the logic that imprisons us to eternal underdevelopment, which continues to produce infrastructure in and not for the Amazon and its peoples.

*Danicley de Aguiar is a campaign coordinator at Greenpeace Brazil and a member of GT Infraestrutura, a network of more than 40 organizations united to debate sustainable development models.

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