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News at Brighter Green

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.

BG Partner Global Forest Coalition Releases Paraguayan Case Study 5/22/14

Brighter Green partner Global Forest Coalition publishes Paraguayan case study on the environmental and social impacts of unsustainable livestock and soybean production.

Brighter Green and Global Forest Coalition New Report and Briefing Paper 5/22/14

Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition announce the release of a new report and briefing paper on redirecting government support for unsustainable livestock production as the key to biodiversity conservation.

Brighter Green Appears in the Scientific American Magazine 5/20/14

The Scientific American article "China's Appetite for Meat Swells, Along with Climate Changing Pollution" references Brighter Green research as well as quotes Executive Director Mia MacDonald and Associate Wanqing Zhou.

What's For Dinner? Page on Icarus Website 5/9/14

Brighter Green's short documentary film What's For Dinner? is now featured on Icarus Films' website, WFD's North American distributor. Visit the website for more information on screening or purchasing the film.

Brighter Green Releases Policy Brief of "Beyond the Pail: the Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia" 4/28/14

Brighter Green released the policy brief for the most recent policy paper, Beyond the Pail: the Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia. The brief, available here, provides a succinct summary of the paper and recommendations.

Brighter Green's film What's For Dinner? to be featured in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital 3/21/14

Brighter Green's short film What's For Dinner? was recently selected to appear in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. It appeared on March 19th at 12PM in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, along with a discussion partnering with the China Environment Forum.

Associate Sangamithra Iyer Publishes eBook 3/5/14

Brighter Green Associate Sangamithra Iyer publishes an eBook entitled The Lines We Draw distributed by Hen Press, the publishing arm of Our Hen House. The book explores the boundaries — physical, biological, and ethical — evolved out of a conversation with the late Dr. Alfred Prince, a hepatitis researcher, about the use of chimpanzees in medical research, and is expanded into a larger discussion about ethics.

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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