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Murder in the Amazon

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dear friends,

The Amazon is in serious danger, the lower house of the Brazilian congress has approved a gutting of Brazil's forest protection laws. Unless we act now, vast tracts of our planet's lungs could be opened up to clear-cutting devastation.

The move has sparked widespread anger and protests across the country. And tension is rising -- in the last few weeks, several prominent environmental advocates have been murdered, purportedly by armed thugs hired by illegal loggers. The timing is critical, they're trying to silence criticism just as the law is discussed in the Senate. But President Dilma can veto the changes, if we can persuade her to overcome political pressure and step onto the global stage as a leader.

79% of Brazilians support Dilma's veto of the forest law changes, but their voices are being challenged by logger lobbies. It's now up to all of us to raise the stakes and make Amazon protection a global issue. Let's come together now in a giant call to stop the murders and illegal logging, and save the Amazon. Sign the petition below -- it'll be delivered to Dilma when we reach 500,000 signers:

Sign the petition

People love Brazil! The sun, the music, the dancing, the football, the nature -- it's a country that inspires millions around the world. This is why Brazil is hosting the next World Cup, why Rio has the 2016 Olympics and next year's Earth Summit, a meeting to stop the slow death of our planet.

Our love is not misplaced -- the Amazon Is vital to life on earth -- 20% of our oxygen and 60% of our freshwater comes from this magnificent rainforest. That's why it's so crucial that we all protect it.

But Brazil is also a rapidly developing country, battling to lift tens of millions out of poverty, and the pressure to clear-cut and mine for profit on its political leaders is intense. This is why they're dangerously close to buckling on environmental protections. Local activists are being murdered, intimidated and silenced, it's up to Avaaz members across the world to stand with Brazilians and urge Brazil's politicians to be strong.

Many of us have seen in our own countries how growth often comes at the expense of our natural heritage, our waters and air get polluted, our forests die.

For Brazil, there is an alternative. Dilma's predecessor massively reduced deforestation and cemented the country's international reputation as an environmental leader, while also enjoying huge economic growth. Let's come together now, and urge Dilma to follow in those footsteps -- sign the petition to save the Amazon, then forward this email to everyone:

In the last 3 years, Brazilian Avaaz members have taken massive leaps towards the world we all want: They won landmark anti-corruption legislation, and have lobbied their government to play a leadership role at the UN, protect human rights and intervene to support democracy in the Middle East, and help protect human rights in Africa and beyond.

Now, as brave Brazilian activists are being killed for protecting a critical global resource, let's come together, and build an international movement to save the Amazon and herald Brazil as a true international leader once more. Sign the petition, then forward this email to everyone:

With hope,
Emma, Ricken, Alice, Ben, Iain, Laura, Graziela, Luis and the rest of the Avaaz Team

MORE INFORMATION

BBC -- Brazil passes 'retrograde' forest code:

AP -- Another Amazon activist killed in logging conflict:

Guardian -- Death in the Amazon: a war being fought for us all:

Washington Post -- Brazil's lower house approves looser forest protections:

Brazil's forest bill threat to Amazon

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Avaaz.org is a 9-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people shape global decision-making. ("Avaaz" means "voice" or "song" in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 13 countries on 4 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz's biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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