An Ambitious Project Wants To Protect 80% Of The Amazon: Is It Really Feasible?

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The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has submitted an emergency measure that – if accepted – could make 80% of the Amazon forest protected area by 2025. The proposal was presented to preserve the “lung of the world” in order to stop deforestation and extraction of minerals and oil.

In the last two decades, the forest has lost 10,000 square kilometers each year, according to satellite data. For the first time in the IUCN’s 70 years of history, indigenous groups will now vote as members together with government agencies and national or international NGOs. “This is the emergency, not only for us but for humanity,” said Jose Gregorio Diaz Mirabal, a leader of the Curripaco people in Venezuela, to the AFP.

The destruction of the forest, together with climate change, are leading the world’s lung towards a very dangerous “point of no return” that, if overcome, could transform the area (or part of it) into a savannah. In addition to changing the climate of the region, this transformation would have a devastating impact on global climate systems.

A decision on what to do will be announced this Sunday or next Monday. The vote, which will take place next week, should not have legal weight, but it shows the strength of feeling among indigenous groups. “We ask governments to help us protect our territory, which is also of humanity,” said Diaz Mirabal in a moving message. “For if the Amazon rainforest disappears, people will die everywhere, it is so simple.”

“It is essential to stop extracting oil, gold, uranium,” added the leader of the Curripaco people. “This is wealth for Europe, the United States, Russia and China, but it is poverty for us.”

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