Up, Down, Postscript, Addenda.
The Brazilian Forest Code, the Código Florestal, became law nearly 50 years ago in 1965 - but it was hardly enforced. Ten years ago, about the time when it started to be seriously applied, a process to renew it began. The new bill was hijacked by Agribusiness which forced amendments to very seriously limit and dilute its effectiveness. It passed the Brazilian congress, the Câmara dos Deputados, on April 25th. The last chance is now with the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, who must decide how much of it she will veto before May 25 - this coming Friday.
The 'fate of the Amazon' (as they say) hangs in the balance; so I urge you to consider signing the on-line petitions: here and here.
You can send a message to Dilma here: Fale com a Presidenta da República do Brasil (interface in English), or call her on the telephone: 011 55 61 3411 1200 or 011 55 61 3411 1201 or FAX 011 55 61 3411 2222 (as listed here: Gabinete Pessoal da Presidenta da República).
[There is a hitch, a little wrinkle-in-the-linkle, when you go to send a message to Dilma - it won't work unless you make the Government of Brazil site explicitly trusted. I guess they have set it up that way to limit traffic. So, go ahead, make it 'trusted' - I did with no ill effects. A tiny frisson to test commitment is all good eh? And not implying any actual trust whatsoever :-)]
Some organizations to remember: O Comitê Brasil em Defesa das Florestas e do Desenvolvimento Sustentável (which includes Amigos da Terra - Amazônia Brasileira and is the originator of 'Eu defendo a natureza do Brasil' and the green leafy hand above), and SOS Florestas (which includes Greenpeace & WWF).
This video is worth a look: O veta Dilma de Camila Pitanga.
Some background from the Guardian and NYT:
May 24, 2012 - If President Rousseff passes the forest code, it won't be only Brazil that suffers by Fernando Meirelles;
May 23, 2012 - Dilma Rousseff must veto Brazil's devastating new forest code;
April 26, 2012 - Brazilian congress adopts controversial land use law;
January 24, 2012 - In Brazil, Fears of a Slide Back for Amazon Protection;
July 3, 2010 - Fate of the Amazon hangs in balance.
And some news from the front lines: Ex-ministros do Meio Ambiente divulgam carta pedindo veto aos retrocessos do Código Florestal and Apelo Público do Fórum dos Ex-ministros de Meio Ambiente à Presidente Dilma (.pdf) - translated here.
She will surely veto the amnesty, at least partially, but when I winnow it all in the stifled breath of my despairing fatalism I can't imagine her vetoing the whole bill.
Then again, she is a woman of very considerable mettle proven over many years. So who can say?
Thursday 24th: Vetos ao Código Florestal serão apresentados às 14h / Forest Code Vetos will be presented at 2PM (from Agência Brasil). Brasilia is an hour ahead - so that will be 1:00 PM local time here in Toronto.
It looks like the youngsters were up all night burning candles too (Good on 'em!):
Friday 25th: President Dilma Rousseff decided to veto 12 items of the Forest Code and make 32 changes to the text approved by the House of Representatives in late April. The government will create a Provisional Measure (MP) containing the points on which the president intervened. The vetoes and MP will be published on Monday (28) in the Official Gazette. ... The presidential veto can be overturned by Congress, unless they have the support of an absolute majority of both houses - the Senate and House - in a secret ballot.
A presidenta Dilma Rousseff decidiu vetar 12 itens do Código Florestal e fazer 32 modificações no texto aprovado pela Câmara dos Deputados no fim de abril. O governo vai editar uma medida provisória (MP) para regulamentar os pontos que sofreram intervenção da presidenta. Os vetos e a MP serão publicados na edição de segunda-feira (28) do Diário Oficial da União. ... Os vetos presidenciais podem ser derrubados pelo Congresso Nacional, desde que tenham o apoio da maioria absoluta das duas Casas – Senado e Câmara – em votação secreta.
Source/Fonte: Dilma decide vetar 12 itens e fazer 32 mudanças no Código Florestal Brasileiro (Agência Brasil).
Tuesday 29th: Her decision was not delivered personally - she sent three flunkies: Isabella Teixeira, Meio Ambiente; Mendes Ribeiro Filho, Agricultura; e Pepe Vargas, Desenvolvimento Agrário ... the writing (as they say) is on the wall, the medium is the message (and all'a that) ...
I admit it - I believed in Lula from the minute I saw him - even when he thought the Indonesian tsunami was somehow causally related to the environment. Dilma as well. She showed such courage in her youth. Mas ambos acabam por ser, obviamente, irresponsáveis e burros. Claro que sim!
Details are here:
"And smale foweles maken melodye, that slepen al the nyght with open yë (so priketh hem nature in hir corages), thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages."
More Parzival: Sometime around year 1 comes the story of the Good Samaritan. One man is moved, in his guts, at the sight of what has happened to another, and acts (unilaterally?) to help him. A millennium and a half later more-or-less comes Wolfram von Eschenbach asking (quite timid & tentative really) "What ails thee?" ... So?
There is a flip side too, the 'fcof paradigm' ... maybe you can hear it in Van Morrison's Domino: "... and if you never hear from him, that just means he didn't call ... and if you never hear from me, that just means I would rather not.", evident ambivalence and ambiguity which segues nicely into ...
The Great Divide: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."
Is there anyone who really does not understand where disaffection with the UNFCCC (and the UN generally) comes from? Or with the upcoming Rio+20? "The widowhood of every government," as our Lennie sings - Anthem ... up against the wall, squeezed towards transcendental cracks however improbable.
Peter Sale ends his (approximately) weekly rant musing on 'austerity' - he says, "Unfortunately, much of what gets lost when programs get cut ..."; while the NYT frames it as more of a once-and-future duality.
Ivan Illich (among others) describes 'corruptio optimi est pessima' (the corruption of the best is the worst) in which fundamental (Christian) truths are devalued as they enter Ritual, Doctrine & Liturgy. Negative compassion is achieved when the doctrines re-emerge into social policy as daemonic bureaucratic nightmares ... welfare, unemployment 'insurance' (all insurance schemes for that matter), medicare.
"I'm just a soul whose intentions are good. O lord please don't let me be misunderstood." (See The Animals, Misunderstood.)
The only antidote I can see (though there is temporary respite in liminal adventures such as Carnaval) is in Luke's manner of seeing: (Luke 10:33) "... came where he was, and when he saw him ..." - but there is vanishingly little of this in evidence on any of the streets I walk - sorry to say it.
Solstice: The etymology is 'the sun stands still' (which lends it a certain emotional - dare I say 'spiritual'? - dimension).
At this time of year the daily change is so evident - with every dawn the birds begin their singing earlier, every sunset, pôr do sol, is extended - until in northern places there is soon (almost) no night at all. Our rudimentary scientist notices and observes this. Eureka! Periodicity! Rotation. Sine curves. How long is it (I wonder) before someone notices precession? Stonehenge? Leap years? Milankovitch cycles?
One fine morning in the middle of the Precession of the Equinoxes this 'satiable Elephant's Child asked a new fine question that he had never asked before. He asked, 'What does the Crocodile have for dinner?' Then everybody said, 'Hush!' in a loud and dretful tone, and they spanked him immediately and directly, without stopping, for a long time. ... That very next morning, when there was nothing left of the Equinoxes, because the Precession had preceded according to precedent ... (Rudyard Kipling in The Elephant's Child.)When Amazônia is gone (and the strong and beautiful Amazons with it) - What then?
Montage: Here, maybe you will be able to grasp this - two headlines from the Guardian Observer section of May 27 side by each - if you also remember, say, Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast and the scientists in the factory windows.
A: We have a duty to put our faith in science, not trample on it - Anti-GM campaigners would do well to remember that progress is dependent upon scientific research; and,
B: Rachel Carson and the legacy of Silent Spring - Fifty years after the publication of the book that laid the foundations for the environmental movement, what have we learned from the biologist who saw the need for science to work with nature?
Muse for a bit upon 'teleology' perhaps ...
Northrop Frye (23) to Helen Kemp (25), 24 July 1935:
My dear Helen:
What a completely redundant expression that invocation is! Still, I don't know — it's a sort of trinity. "My" — that's you in your subjective aspect, "Helen" — that's you in your objective, individual aspect; and "dear" — that's the copula or link connecting us. There ought to be one word for it all, though, to save wear and tear on the space bar.
Sweetheart: ... July 14 came on a Sunday. ...