rn: Good news from Brazil


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

I agree with Martin Willison (a biology professor who has been a long-time
supporter of making this world more livable and our Democratic Renaissance
effort); the message below is worth sharing!

I'm also including a message about the plan to allow logging of some 50% of
the Amazon jungle which was apparently scuttled. Thank goodness!

all the best, Jan
PS If you want to write to the Brazilian president, his address (and a quick
message I wrote) are below.
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2000 09:00:11 -0300 (ADT)
From: Martin Willison <•••@••.•••>
Subject: A sparkle in the gloom

Please forward this little piece of good news as you see 


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2000 20:18:59 +1000
From: David Stern <•••@••.•••>
To: ANZSEELIST <•••@••.•••>
Subject: ANZSEELIST: From cnn.com

Brazil cancels titles to nearly 2,000 large properties

July 18, 2000
Web posted at: 12:43 AM EDT (0443 GMT)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) -- Brazil's government has canceled deeds 
to almost 2,000 large rural properties to alter the country's skewed 
land distribution, in which a small rich elite controls most of the 
land in this vast country.  Agrarian Reform Minister Raul Jungmann 
said Monday that 1,899 landowners had their deeds canceled, freeing 
up an area the size of Central America, after they failed to present
documentation proving the land they claimed was theirs.

"We've put an end to all the mega-areas and large land holdings in 
Brazil today. I invalidated and definitively canceled 62 million 
hectares (153 million acres)," Jungmann said. Property owners who 
had their deeds canceled are prohibited from selling or subdividing 
the properties, nor will they be allowed to use them as collateral 
for bank loans.

The government hopes to rectify some of the disparity in land 
ownership by taking control of the land, redistributing some to 
the landless, and making other tracts into parks.  Jungmann said, 
however, that court challenges would likely tie the process up for 
years, even decades.

"It may take some time, but at least we started," he said. Over the 
years, a relatively small number of powerful families have acquired
massive holdings -- sometimes the size of small European nations -- 
mostly in the sparsely populated Amazon and Central West. Many 
properties were acquired illegally, with forged documents and the 
help of local registry officials who destroyed the original land 

On June 14, the government asked 3,065 large landholders to provide 
proof of ownership as part of a campaign to strip landowners of 
properties obtained through forged titles, a common practice for
centuries in Brazil. The government also plans to develop a national 
land registry to better track land ownership after it has reviewed
documentation of landowners who did prove ownership. Jungmann said 
he believed about a third of those documents would turn out to be 
false.  He said the government also planned to investigate 
registry offices where false deeds were recognized.

In Brazil, the richest 20 percent of the population owns about 
90 percent the land, while the poorest 40 percent holds just 
1 percent.

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This 
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or 
to: •••@••.•••
Dear President Fernando Henrique Cardoso,

I just want you to know that I am so pleased to learn of the land
redistribution program you have approved. (See below.)

I plan to shar this article with over 200 people. And you can imagine how
good news spreads via e-mail!

all the best, Jan Slakov
President, Enviro-Clare, 
Box 35, Weymouth, NS B0W 3T0
(902) 837-4980
From: "Irene Novaczek" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Fw:      Brazilian Forest

> > GOOD NEWS >>>
> >
> > Environment ENS -- Environment News Service
> >
> > Enviros Force Brazilian Congress to Kill Destructive Rainforest Law
> >
> > BRASILIA, Brazil, May 18, 2000 (ENS) - Brazil's congressional leaders
> > night dropped proposed legislation to increase the area and rate of
> > forest destruction. Faced with the threat of a presidential veto and
> > widespread opposition from environmentalists, the draft law was killed
> > before it could come to the House floor.
> >
> >
> > The decision gave the ranchers' and large landowners' congressional
> > a precedent setting defeat. It is the first time that the Brazilian
> > environmental movement has prevailed over the ranchers' powerful special
> > interest group.
> >
> > The draft law would have changed the National Forest Code, reducing the
> > reserve area of the Amazon rainforest from 80 to 50 percent of the
> > The draft was approved by a special parliamentary commission last week.
> >
> > After a flood of email and faxed protests, Brazilian President Fernando
> > Henrique Cardoso pledged to veto the measure.
> >
> > Government officials at one point blocked the massive influx of protest
> > emails to Senate offices but backed down when the move was criticized as
> > censorship in the media. Press and TV coverage overwhelmingly opposed
> > measure, as did the Brazilian Environment Ministry.
> >
> > The President Cardoso declared his intention to preserve the current
> > National Forest Code. The code, a group of laws that regulate occupation
> > and use of forest areas, allows farmers to clear only 20 percent of
> > forest vegetation on their lands.
> >
> > The controversial draft measure would have allowed them to clear as much
> > as 50 percent of forest areas for crops and grazing.
> >
> > In addition, a census to be carried out by the states could have
> > authorized up to 80 percent clearing on any farm in Brazil.
> >
> > Environmental organizations such as the Instituto Socioambiental,
> > parliamentary leader Senator Marina Silva (Worker's Party - Acre) and
> > Amazon union and grassroots groups won over public opinion by denouncing
> > the changes to the Forest Code as irresponsible and contrary to the
> > national interest.
> >
> > The ranchers' proposed changes to the code rejected an alternative
> > proposal negotiated in the National Environment Council (CONAMA) among
> > many interest groups including some ranchers.
> >
> > "The ranchers' caucus is the human face of the inequality, injustice,
> > class privilege, and impunity that have plagued Brazil for 500 years,"
> > said Environmental Defense senior scientist Stephan Schwartzman from the
> > conservation group's New York headquarters. "The fight over this
> > legislation was really between the 19th century and the 21st, over the
> > future of the Amazon. It's important that the 21st century won."
> >
> > Underlining the urgency of protection for the Amazon rainforest,
> > Greenpeace is today escorting a raft of 271 illegally cut logs from
> > locations on the Jurua River in Brazils Amazonas state at the request of
> > Brazils Environmental Agency, IBAMA.
> >
> > Now bound for the Villages of Carauari, the logs were first discovered
> > during a routine flight of Greenpeaces Cessna aircraft on Monday, May 8.
> > The following day Greenpeace activists found the raft of logs hidden in
> >
> > small tributary of the Jurua River and turned it over to IBAMA.
> >
> > "Because there are no approved Forest Management Plans in this area, and
> > because the raft appeared to have been hidden the second day, we knew
> > there was a high probability of illegal activity, so we returned to
> > investigate further," said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon campaigner.
> >
> > One hundred of the logs were Samauma, an enormous and increasingly rare
> > tree called Queen of the Forest by many indigenous people and rubber
> > tappers. Because of its size, the felling of one Samauma tree may damage
> > as many as 30 surrounding trees. In Amazonas State, the Samauma tree is
> > one of the most used species in the production of plywood.
> >
> > "Not only were the trees cut illegally, but their removal left vast
> > of destruction in the forest," said Adario. "Some of these logs measure
> > more than 1.8 metres in diameter, and were very old trees. All of this
> > destruction to produce a few sheets of plywood."
> >
> > "This apprehension is a result of an integrated action with Greenpeace,"
> > said Hamilton Casara, head of IBAMA in the state of Amazonas. "In
> > accordance with legislation, the timber will be donated to the community
> > in Carauari. As Greenpeace currently has a ship in the region, we asked
> > for their help to tow the raft to the community."
> >
> > Before IBAMA seized them, the logs were the property of a local
> > entrepreneur, Ercival Lobo, whose family has been fined three times for
> > illegal transport of logs. The Lobos supply the multinational logging
> > companies Carolina and Compensa, Adario says.
> >
> > "Instead of discussing the Forest Code, Congress should work on public
> > policies to push the logging sector to adopt sustainable harvesting
> > practices," said Adario. "Without this political will, inexpensive wood
> > from illegal operations will continue to compete with responsible
> > from legitimate companies, and efforts to adopt sustainable and
> > forest management practices will be futile."
> >
> >
> > Environment News Service (ENS) 2000. All Rights Reserved.
> >
> > ======================
> >
> > *** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this
> > is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior
> > in receiving the included information for research and educational
> > purposes. Feel free to distribute widely but PLEASE acknowledge the
> > source. ***
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 10:58:38 -0400
From: Eric Fawcett <•••@••.•••>
Subject: rainforest petition - - please don't circulate it
Sender: •••@••.•••

Sorry, I should have known better.  But perhaps you can find sanother
avenue to express your concern?

From: Katherine Gunn <•••@••.•••>

 Dear Friends -  The "rainforest peition" is circulating widely on the
Internet  -  but attempting to contact the address given for the petition
produced the following message.   Generally, e-mail petitions  on the 'net
have had the same result.

)   ----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
)   <•••@••.•••>
)   ----- Transcript of session follows -----
)<<< 550 5.1.1 <•••@••.•••> is not a valid mailbox
)550 <•••@••.•••>... User unknown

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