Keeping the Amazon rainforest alive: Angelo Augusto dos Santos at TEDxBeloHorizonte

Keeping the Amazon rainforest alive: Angelo Augusto dos Santos at TEDxBeloHorizonte


Translator: Claudia Solano
Reviewer: Denise RQ [The enchanting and hospitable capital
of the state of Minas Geras] Working in the Amazon forest
for more than 20 years, I always get surprised by the ability
of the people living there, – people living from agriculture –
and by the indigenous populations, and how easily they capture
these modern new technologies of the twentieth century
and use them in their lives. In the case of the Suruí,
spread all over the Amazon, we deal with their ability
to create new technologies. They have an innovation process
and this is well proven in four things
that I will introduce to you, about the creation
of social environmental technologies, as we call them today. They are not gadgets,
they are not objects, but a way of thinking
and organizing the world that can prove the world what the preservation solutions
of the Amazon forest are. The first thing already
briefly mentioned by Almir, is their 50 year Life Plan. The Suruí have gathered several times, in a year or so, to decide about what they wanted for themselves
in terms of education, in terms of health, in terms of housing, in terms of sustainable production, in terms of tourism for its people. They have planned their lives
for the next 50 years. This participatory process, this process of coming up with a Life Plan was not triggered by the chiefs. It was a participatory process
that involved all the community. And for that, they have created
a way to do it based on a previous agreement,
free, and informed, a methodology so that the whole community was able to participate of the process
and each could have a saying in it. There are people amongst the Suruí
that do not speak Portuguese. There are people who still
speak their native language. This was recorded in films
and during meetings those who signed in for it
could follow up the processes. Today, this methodology of a previous,
free, and informed agreement is a claim made by FUNAI that this should be applied
in all the indigenous lands, by any white man who goes
working in their territory. Once again, the Suruís were innovative. The Suruí have innovated,
deeply, in a third option. They, adopted the idea
promoted by the United Nations and by the developed countries
that those companies and countries that are the big producers
of greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming, could pay to forest owners
in tthe ropical countries for their actions
to diminish deforestation. Because deforestation
in the tropical world is responsible for 20% of the greenhouse
gas emissions in the world. What does 20% mean? It means: every car in the world,
every ship in the world, every airplane in the world emits,
in terms of greenhouse gases, less than the tropical forest’s
deforestation does, and Brazil and Indonesia are
the world champions in deforestation. So, a proposal to diminish
tropical deforestation is a very important thing. And again, the Suruí innovated in this. They took the challenge to create a project that is called the project
for the prevention of deforestation, but whose correct name is Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and
Forest Degradation in Developing Countries or (REDD), a complicated
methodology to put in place. An amazing idea, difficult to implement, but, which, with the help of partners,
the Suruí were able to develop. And what does this project mean? It means that for the next 30 years,
the Suruí territory of 250,000 hectares, will prevent the deforestation
of 150,000 hectares. For the next 30 years,
the Suruís will have the right to use only 100,000 hectares of their territory. The other 150,000 hectares
that they could deforest, could use for other uses, would be put in moratorium and they will be paid
not to deforest this territory. What does that mean
in terms of the amounts of carbon that exist inside the trees,
that they have measured? It means 8 million tons of carbon dioxide. If we could sell these 8 million tons
today in the market, the price ranges from 5 to 8 dollars,
the market is not regulated, it’s a voluntary market,
so the price is low, the Suruí would have in their hands
between 40 to… eight by eight is 64, almost between 40 to 60
millions of dollars, to do what? What was their decision? This money does not go to their pockets. This money will return to their 50 year project, to help
in the sustainable development process of all the indigenous community. This, folks, is not trivial. This kind of project
does not exist in the wold. A lot of people tried, are trying. In Brazil, there are more
than 12 attempts to make REDD projects, but the only validated project,
that is to say, accepted by the international standards,
is the Suruí project. This is the third social environmental
innovation made by the Suruí. The forth was the creation of a fund, a financial mechanism to get resources and distribute these resources
to the Suruí population. This fund is called Paiter Suruí Fund, [and] it’s a fund
that will receive resources, either from multilateral donations
as the World Bank, the Inter-American Bank,
as well as from organizations, American Grantimaking Foundations, that finance production
or conservation in the tropical region, or private investors that can bet
in something made by the Suruí, for example, in the organic coffee field
that they want to develop. It could be risk capital put there, so that profit will be generated and it will go back to the investors. It can be tourism, and various other kinds of resources
that are put in this and administrated. The fund has an organization
and it’s completely transparent to the investors
and for the Suruí people, showing how the resources are used. There are operational manuals
that explain how the money will be used, and a decision process, a deliberative council
that is completely Suruí. So the Suruí have created a system that goes towards
the 21st century economy. In the words of..
that is a word that only exists… a sentence that only exists in Portuguese, the Amazon people try
to survive from the living forest. The worst that can happen to a native is to be out of his tribe
and go live in an urban city. He becomes and outcast of himself. For the natives it is very important
to maintain the forest in order to maintain their culture. So, while they’re solving
their own problem from their culture, their survival, they’re contributing to a global issue that is the control of greenhouse gases, planet temperature, control,
and working with great effort, that the whole planet is doing
in the 21st century, to diminish the climate change impact. This is not trivial. And it’s very interesting to see
this being made in Brazil. Brazil has become a leader
in this kind of thing. The day before yesterday, on Friday,
there was a meeting in Rio de Janeiro, organized by
the English magazine The Economist, that was about innovation. So, the Suruí chief, Chief Almir, was again invited to speak
about these innovations. This was in that attendance
that had people from the whole of Latin America
and the whole world, a surprise for them to see
how social environmental innovation can be made using the new economy,
what is being called Green Economy. You will see this being discussed
exhaustively from June with the Rio+20 meeting. So, in my final words,
I think that this process, we live in a world of big changes. From 2010 to the next decades, this big technological revolution
that is happening worldwide, with virtual technology
that is used in the everyday life, as well as social
environmental technologies will be more and more present in our life. The planet is changing, it’s inevitable
that the planet changes. The former lifestyle,
the development model in sustainable bases is being altered. And it’s being altered not only because of political decisions, public policies, but by people who live this everyday life. The change is being made
by each one of use. This is something very important
in this economy. Global governance:
governments are loosing power and the community, the individuals
are getting empowered. There’s a very interesting sentence from an American journalist that says: “The Stone Age didn’t end
because humanity ran out of stones, but it ended because humanity understood that new processes should be used so that we can improve
our development processes and life on the planet for human society will keep always
in a development process.” (Applause)

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