Indigenous Leaders Counting On Joe Biden To Help Save The Amazon
Indigenous leaders are putting their hopes in President-elect Joe Biden to help pull the Amazon rainforest back from the ‘brink of collapse’.
The situation in the Amazon is increasingly grave, with the forest facing serious threats from the effects of climate change as well as from unsustainable resource extraction practices such as logging.
Fears for the future of the Amazon were further exacerbated following the 2016 election, with President Donald Trump being a known climate change sceptic.
The Trump administration not only failed to treat environmental causes with necessary gravity, it actively took steps backwards in the fight to save our shared planet.
Most notably, in 2017 he announced that he would withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accords, being the first leader to do so. In the same year, he introduced a bill to prohibit US contributions to international climate funds.
For four years, environmental activists watched in dismay as Trump showed support for climate change deniers such as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, while openly mocking high-profile campaigners such as Greta Thunberg.
However, following Biden’s recent election success, hope has once again been raised for the US to become a powerful ally in the battle against climate change.
Speaking with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, indigenous leader Nemonte Nenquimo gave a message to Biden from the Waorani people, asking him to respect their forests and their culture.
For years, 35-year-old Nenquimo has fought to to protect her Amazon rainforest home in Ecuador from exploitative oil companies, and hopes Biden will lend his support to this cause.
Nenquimo, who is president of the Waorani Pastaza Organization, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation:
As indigenous peoples, the Amazon is our home and we will always protect it. But for the rest of the world, the Amazon is treated as a place for looting.
We expect the new President of the United States to understand this reality, and we hope that he will understand that the Amazon is being driven to the brink of collapse.
She added, ‘Hopefully Biden will have the courage to take a stand for the Earth and not side with the big industries.’
Biden’s commitment to climate change is outlined in his ambitious climate plan, which states his intentions to re-enter the Paris Agreement and to ‘lead an effort to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets’.
During the presidential debates, Biden called upon Bolsonaro to fight against deforestation with $20 billion worth of foreign aid, stating that the country would face unspecified ‘economic consequences’ if current deforestation policies were not altered.
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