“You do not know me and you’ve never seen me. You live in a distant land.”
(Davi Kopenawa, Yanomamishaman)
During the final months of 2017, the Amazon has once again taken center stage of debates in the media and in civil society. The trigger was a decree from the interim government of Michel Temer that would allow the private initiative to explore an area of 46 thousand square kilometers known as Renca (National Reserve of Copper and Associates) – First Decree 9.147, August 28, 2017 [i]. Continue reading “Renca: Attacks From the Brazilian Government Put Reserve At Risk”→
Brazil is a blessed country. We have no hurricanes, no earthquakes, no harsh winter. We have the largest tropical forest in the world, the Brazilian Amazon, which amounts for around 5 million square kilometers, and hosts an unparalleled biodiversity[i]. Moreover, Brazil also has 12% of the world’s freshwater, more than the European or the African continents. It is fair to say that when it comes to natural resources, we are an extremely lucky country. But we are ruining it. Little by little, with years of neglectful environmental policies, we are ruining it.
How to integrate marginalized populations into the social and economic fabric of our societies is the premier public policy challenge of this century. Ahead of the World Cup and Olympic Games, the government of Rio de Janeiro has been aggressively seeking to regain control of and integrate select favelas (shantytowns) into the larger city. This has been done principally by the State government’s police pacification program, which permanently establishes a community-policing unit (UPP) to maintain security gains, along with UPP Social to facilitate social and physical investments (Municipal Government of Rio de Janeiro, 2013). In response to this public investment in physical capital and security in formerly inaccessible real estate markets, international and Brazilian speculators and developers are buying up valuable property while it is cheap (Steele, 2013). While existing favela homeowners with titles to their land have gained from increased land value, there is growing concern that their children will not be able to afford to buy a home in the neighborhood or even afford to rent after the mega-events (Barbassa, 2012).