OPEN LETTER REGARDING ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS IN BRAZIL
Based on the challenge launched by the JPIC Commission of the Congregation for the Laudato Si Week from May 22 to 29, 2022 and mediated by JPIC Commission of Brasil, the groups of the Associates from Porto Alegre and Guaíba deepened on the theme given. The Associates Nazaré/POA group prepared a Letter, emphasizing the Brazilian problem on the subject. Following are the text and photos of the group.
A few decades ago, we lived in a world that we believed was an inexhaustible source of natural resources; we used over rivers and forests, flora and fauna, in the name of progress that would generate a state of social well-being for all. The greed of the great nations on the developing the world and of the country's economic elite was justified as necessary, as we should first “make the cake grow”, and then share it. What reality do we envision now, in 2022? The planet has been systematically destroyed for the benefit of a minority that controls the exploitation of natural resources on a global level. In the current phase of Financial Capitalism, companies aim for maximum profit for their shareholders, always seeking to value their own shares. This generates a cycle of neglect in view of the restoration of degraded biomes, the prevention of environmental accidents, the disposal of tailings, etc. Among the countless examples of “let's pay to see”, we can highlight the Tragedy of Brumadinho/MG (264 lives lost), an environmental crime that still has no one responsible and judged. There is also no prediction of how many years it will take to recover the affected sites.
Climate change has severely affected nations: torrential rains, floods, storms, hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, cold waves, all out of season and out of place and with dimensions never seen before. These environmental catastrophes will collapse economies and a new world order will emerge, bringing enormous human suffering in tow. We can change this picture, there is still time, but we must act! Actions aimed at the conservation, prevention, restoration and rehabilitation of biomes should be everyone's priority, regardless of political ideology, creed, social class, race, etc. There are all natural resources, all humanity and there is also our common home, which we will hand over to future generations.
Changes are urgent all over the planet! It's time to participate, it's time to act! Civil society must do its part, putting pressure on the powers of the Republic and its members so that concrete measures to correct the course with the environment are implemented in the country, so that we do not reach a point where return is impossible. Researchers and environmentalists have been announcing and denouncing through their studies and sometimes, unfortunately, they end up murdered.
Thus, we hereby call upon Brazilian citizens, who are somehow willing to participate in the country's public life, to commit to the ideas we bring, regarding Brazilian environmental problems. Most of the proposals listed below refer to the document “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. This document brought to the centre of discussions, the actions to be taken by people, the attention to be given to the planet and to prosperity, aiming at peace between nations. The document asks world leaders to recognize that the eradication of poverty is a great challenge for sustainable development.
Therefore, we seek effective political participation and propose that public employees commit to environmental guidelines in general and, more specifically:
- encourage environment sustainable goals through tax exemption projects, the implementation of clean energy sources, such as solar and wind;
- seek to improve public transport services and urban mobility, minimizing the circulation of vehicles and the consequent emission of polluting gases;
- prioritize basic sanitation, so that we can establish possible goals for the improvement of water supply, sanitary sewage, cleaning and urban drainage, solid waste and rainwater management;
- promote sustainable agriculture, reducing the use of pesticides, encouraging family farming through guaranteed purchase of production projects to supply day-care centres, social projects and schools;
- encourage educational campaigns for sustainable consumption and production and the consequent reduction of plastic waste in the environment;
- hold fairs using food in perfect condition for consumption, but with an appearance relegated to the market/sale;
- create recycling plants and implement selective waste collection in all municipalities;
- promote composting with leftovers from fairs and large sources of organic matter;
- promote integrated and critical environmental education for educators, managers and employees in the public and private sectors and in elementary and high schools;
- expand urban afforestation and care for the conservation and planting of fruit species in backyards;
- create actions for the preservation of springs.
We can see that most of the actions listed above require state action. “Macro” changes will not come from initiatives by individuals or companies. We need regulations that lead everyone, without exception, to a sustainable and balanced world.
It should be clear that this document does not bring any great news and that is not our intention. We only seek to show that civil society is mobilizing to protect the only home we have, planet Earth, and that it is time to commit our governments to this cause. There can be no economic development dissociated from care for the environment!
Nazaré - Group of Associates in Porto Alegre/RS