Subscribe to Our Newsletter

YouTube Facebook Twitter

News at Brighter Green

Brighter Green and Humane Society International Publish COP 20 Policy Recommendations 12/4/14

Brighter Green and Humane Society International published a policy recommendation document on animal agriculture and climate change for the COP 20 meeting in Lima, Peru. You can access the document here.

Brighter Green Releases Summary on Forthcoming Nature's Rights Paper 10/14/14

Brighter Green released a summary of a forthcoming nature's rights paper entitled Nature's Rights: Rivers, Trees, Whales, and Apes.

Jim Harkness Positively Reviews "What's For Dinner?" 10/6/14

Jim Harkness Senior Advisor on China at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy positively reviews "What's For Dinner?" and interviews Executive Director Mia MacDonald.

Brighter Green Associate Interviewed by "Eating Animals" Director, Christopher Quinn 9/29/14

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou was interviewed by Eating Animals director Christopher Quinn. BG also provided Mr. Quinn Chinese contacts, including What's For Dinner? director Jian Yi, for the film.

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou interviewed by Our Hen House 7/23/14

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou was interviewed by Our Hen House on Brighter Green's What's For Dinner? and China screening tour in June and July 2014.

Brighter Green and Partner Global Forest Coalition Published in "Square Brackets" 7/1/14

Brighter Green and partner Global Forest Coalition published their article "Implementing Aichi Target 3 in the livestock sector" in "Square Brackets: CBD Newsletter for Civil Society".

Brighter Green Releases June 2014 Newsletter 6/27/14

Brighter Green releases its June 2014 newsletter highlighting achievements and events in the first part of 2014. You can view the newsletter here.

Brighter Green Launches "What's For Dinner?" China Screening Tour 6/15/14

Brighter Green launches the China tour of the short documentary film "What's For Dinner?". The film is screened in multiple cities through July 2014 and provinces including Beijing, Shanghai, and Zhejiang province. To learn more please click here.

Brighter Green Presents at the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption 6/11/14

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou presented her paper, "The Triangle: Factory Farming in the U.S., China and Brazil" in Shanghai, China at the Global Research Forum on Production and Consumption.

View News Archive


Smoke and Trees: Brazil's Forests and the Ruralistas

September 9, 2011 2:56pm

This aerial shot taken in March 2011 shows immense deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

Brazil's Senate is debating changes to the country's forest code that could, in the words of one scientist, "create a recipe for Amazon dieback." More trees would be cut, rainfall would ebb, and the ecosystem could become a vast savannah--with enormous amounts of climate warming carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Others' view is that the current forest code, which requires land-owners to keep forest on 80 percent of their land, is flouted so routinely that it's not as effective as it could or should be. Reforming it, and relaxing the 80 percent requirement in some cases could, this argument goes, make the law that emerges more effective and sustainable.

But scientists at the University of Sao Paolo estimate that an additional 220,000 square kilometers of Amazon forest--about the size of the U.K.-- could be lost if the law as written goes through. Brighter Green associate Simone de Lima, a professor at the University of Brasiiia, offers a window into the fractious process behind the revisions to the forest code:

"The Forest Code still has to go through the Senate and word has it President Dilma [Rousseff] will end up vetoing the worst parts because as it stands it would be a major blow to the GHG emissions agreements Brazil has signed. The way it passed in the House of Deputies was just plain shameful, especially because of the alliance built between the big land owners (called "ruralistas") and the representative who wrote the report [the draft law is based on], Aldo Arantes, who's a communist, for God's sake [ed. note: although Communist Parties have not often been known for having strong environmental bona fides].

WWF and Greenpeace were vilified as 'foreign interests' meddling with the country, and even the Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science, which issued a statement counter to the proposal, was accused by Aldo Arantes of having been corrupted by Greenpeace and WWF (because, of course, Cargill, Monsanto and the like represent the best local interests). It's been a tough, heated, emotional debate, and because of the involvement of sectors from the left with the landowner caucus in Congress, it's affected personal relations and friendships in the city [Brasilia]." 

According to WWF, criticism of the law in Brazil is growing, with Senators themselves noting the number of negative comments they're received on the current draft. In a June poll by environmental organizations, 85 percent of Brazilians said protecting the forest should take priority over agricultural production. Luiz Martinelli, an ecologist and professor at the University of Sao Paolo, says: "Brazilian society is kind of sick of this deforestation debate." Read more from Brighter Green about the tensions between Brazil's environment, intensifying systems for animal agriculture, and the global climate -- and how to resolve them. Read a summary in Portuguese here. Short documentary videos in English and Portuguese here.

Photo courtesy of Lou Gold