Happy Earth Day from Branch Out - Here is a critical update on COVID-19, the rainforest, and how you can support the climate justice movement

From every member of our team at Branch Out, we wish you a Happy Earth Day and hope you are safe and healthy, and your loved ones too. You’re probably reading this a day or two after Earth Day because we are sending it at the end of an action-packed day.

We have spent the day connecting with people who are ready to build the climate justice movement and researching our upcoming news coverage on pipeline resistance and fossil fuel divestment. In case you missed last week’s Friday Forecast, here is an update:

Brazil’s Coronavirus response and how it will impact Indigenous Nations protecting the Amazon Rainforest.

Daiara Tukano, an Indigenous activist from Brazil and coordinator of Radio Yandê, speaking at the WECAN livestream, said: “One of the [COVID-19] deaths that we faced of a young boy of 15 years old was caused because of the invasion of illegal mining in indigenous territories.”

Studies have shown that the Amazon rainforest affects precipitation across the western hemisphere. Moreover, the rainforest sequesters massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, making it one of the most important natural carbon sinks in the fight against climate change. 

Bolsonaro’s commitment to the anti-indigenous policy of economic development in the Amazon region shows how far governments will go to perpetuate extractive capitalism even in the backdrop of a global pandemic. Brazil’s coronavirus response is not flat-out denial; it is the belief that capitalist economic growth is more important than life itself. 

Why Indigenous people of the Amazon play a pivotal role in global public health

“Sometimes it rains too light, sometimes it rains too much, but people who live in their comfort zone don’t perceive this too much,” Yawanawa told CBS. “We all live in a global village. Whatever we do affects each other. If I burn everything here, it is going to affect you wherever you are.“

“I am sure that when the forest is depleted, we will no longer have a spirit, because our spirit just lives in peace where the forest is there,”  Bainawá said in the 2016 documentary. “The rich and powerful ones, they are rich in stuff but poor in spirit, as they, the white men, do not realize the forest is a crystal clear portal.”

For Yawanawa, the fight to save the Amazon is not his community’s independent battle to save their home and way of life, the destruction of the world’s largest rainforest is a global crisis that affects everyone, and therefore everyone should join the fight. 

What you can do to stop Brazil's fascist leaders from destroying the rainforest and causing the next pandemic

In seeking the help of allies across the world, The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) has called for a boycott of beef, soy, and other products from companies profiting from the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest and its Peoples. APIB has disclosed a list of companies and individuals who have profited from destroying Indigenous lands, endangering all life on Earth.

As documented by Mighty Earth, the companies using Cargill soy products include Costco, McDonald’s, Burger King, Sysco, Target, Kroger, Sam’s Club, Aldi, Walmart, and Safeway.

Many others use JBS Beef and Marfig Global Foods, which provide beef for companies such as Nestle, McDonald’s, RBI, Subway and Wegmans.

To identify any others, 789-790 is the Brazilian bar-code identification number to look out for

Take Action Now!

  1. #BoycottBrazilianFood

  2. Share our reporting. We win with strength in numbers, so tell people about Branch Out and the issues impacting climate justice.

  3. Make a contribution to our GoFundMe page. We know times are tough for most people right now. Whether you can contribute $1, $5, $50, $100, $500 or more, your support is critical to help create green journalism jobs and climate justice projects. Right now, 50% of all your gifts will fund our reporting, while the other 50% will fund regenerative urban agriculture and chemical-free food mutual aid programs in solidarity with Black Earth Farms.

Keep rising and branch out.