Latin American Countries Aim to Curb Amazon Deforestation | Kanebridge News
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Latin American Countries Aim to Curb Amazon Deforestation

Brazil’s president hosts regional leaders as rainforest risks losing ability to help offset climate change

Thu, Aug 10, 2023 8:00amGrey Clock 4 min

SÃO PAULO—The Latin American countries that share the Amazon rainforest embarked on a two-day meeting Tuesday in the Brazilian jungle city of Belém with an aim to halt the deforestation that many scientists blame for accelerating climate change.

Brazil, home to 60% of the world’s biggest rainforest, held a meeting for presidents and top officials from countries that are home to the rest of the Amazon: Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guyana and Suriname. The summit is the first in 14 years for the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, a group that arose from a treaty Amazonian nations signed in 1978 to promote harmonious development of the region. France, which oversees French Guiana on South America’s northeast shoulder, was represented by the French ambassador in Brasília.

The meeting comes as Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva seeks to position his country as a leading voice in the global fight against deforestation, and facilitator of cross-border environmental cooperation on the continent through the 45-year-old treaty.

“It’s never been more urgent to resume and widen this cooperation—it’s the challenge of our era,” said da Silva in his opening speech Tuesday.

Other countries with large tropical forests, such as Indonesia, Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, were expected to join the meeting along with Norway and Germany, which contribute to deforestation programs. The United Arab Emirates, which will host this year’s United Nations climate summit in Dubai, was also to attend.

Twice the size of India, the Amazon rainforest has long absorbed more carbon than it releases, acting as a vital brake on global climate change. But with close to 20% of the original forest now gone, scientists tracking the forest say the Amazon could be close to its so-called irreversible tipping point, at which it would dry out and eventually become savanna. The effects could be global. Climate scientists have blamed forest loss for contributing to global warming, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said explains why heat waves in countries such as the U.S. are becoming more common.

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has hit its lowest level in four years since da Silva’s administration started in January, dropping about 34% in the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year, according to preliminary data from Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research, known as INPE. While da Silva has vowed to bring jungle destruction down to zero by 2030, he has argued that this can’t be done at the cost of the livelihoods of the some 30 million people who live in Brazil’s Amazon.

Instead, Brazil must build a new green economy in the Amazon with financing and investment from abroad, da Silva argues, as well as develop a regulated carbon market. Brazil relies on foreign donations to help operate its underfunded environmental enforcement agencies, which use helicopters, drones and other equipment to monitor illegal deforestation across the vast area.

“What we want is to tell the world what we’re going to do with our forests and what the world has to do to help us,” da Silva said in a government statement. Da Silva said he plans to pressure wealthy nations to fulfil the pledge they made during the 2015 Paris climate accord to provide $100 billion a year to help developing countries fight climate change.

Other Latin American countries, including Colombia and Peru, have set deforestation targets but face serious challenges from illegal mining and drug gangs that have tightened their grip over the forest in what the U.N. recently referred to as “narco-deforestation.”

Tackling deforestation is one of the most urgent tasks facing South America, scientists say.

Heavily-deforested parts of the Amazon’s southeastern region have already ceased to function as a carbon absorber and are now a carbon source, according to a study published in 2021 by Luciana Gatti, a researcher for INPE, which uses satellites to track deforestation.

The Amazon rainforest influences weather patterns around the world and as deforestation advances, this could make extreme weather events more common, said Daniel Nepstad, who heads the California-based Earth Innovation Institute and has worked in the Amazon for more than 30 years.

“The forest is a global air-conditioning unit…an enormous heat processing machine that influences weather around the world,” said Nepstad, adding that the willingness of all leaders to meet to discuss the issue was in itself a “hugely positive outcome.”

Deadly heat waves have upended daily life in large parts of the U.S., Europe and Asia this year, while unusually high temperatures in South America’s winter have melted snow in the Andes mountains.

Regional coordination is vital, environmentalists say. Deep in the Amazon, where indigenous communities often straddle borders and loggers and criminal groups move freely, one country’s efforts can easily be rendered ineffective by those of its neighbour.

Such a summit seemed a distant possibility just a year ago, when da Silva’s right-wing predecessor Jair Bolsonaro was president. Bolsonaro, who jokingly referred to himself as “Captain Chainsaw,” cut funding for environmental enforcement and bristled at attempts from foreign countries to influence his stewardship of the Amazon even as he called on them to fund deforestation efforts.

Under the conservative leader, a swath of forest bigger than Vermont was destroyed in four years, according to INPE data.

Da Silva’s election in October last year put much of South America in the hands of a group of loosely allied leftist leaders, easing regional talks on an issue, the Amazon, that had never resulted in tangible cooperation, political scientists said.

Points of conflict, to be sure, exist among the countries participating in the Belém summit.

While da Silva has mulled plans to develop offshore oil finds near the mouth of the Amazon River to help lower domestic fuel costs, his Colombian counterpart, Gustavo Petro, called last month for all new oil developments to be blocked in the region.

“As heads of state, we must assure the end of new oil and gas exploration in the Amazon,” Petro wrote last month in the Miami Herald. “We must exhibit courage, even as we address fundamental social issues within our countries, exacerbated by a cost of living crisis and rampant inflation.”

Marcio Astrini, who heads a coalition of environmental groups called the Brazilian Climate Observatory, said Amazonian countries are likely to find common ground on the need to protect indigenous communities, combat crime at the borders and support scientific research to better understand the forest.

“These countries are in different political situations…but they all found space in their agendas to agree to this and get together to discuss these sensitive issues,” said Astrini.

The biggest point they have in common, though, is their desire to get richer nations to help pay for all of this, said Astrini.

“Show me the money—that’s one thing they’ll all be saying in unison,” he said.


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Designing Dreams: David Charette’s fascinating Spaces for Children’s Adventures

David Charette has teamed up with CIRCU Magical Furniture to design spaces that capture the essence of childhood wonder.

Tue, May 21, 2024 4 min

This collaboration between David Charette, founder and principal of Britto Charette, and CIRCU Magical Furniture aims to stimulate the imaginations of children, encouraging them to invent their own tales of adventure. Drawing on his extensive travels, Charette believes that journeying through different cultures can spark creativity in young minds.

His latest venture uses a mix of luxury elements and magical themes, incorporating products from CIRCU, Covet House, and other vendors to create unique, enchanting children’s rooms. These spaces are designed to reflect the excitement and mystery of exploring new worlds.

The Sleeping are:

David Charette has transformed a Montreal residence into a magical sleeping area where time seems to pause, and adventures await. Known for its long, cold winters and short days, Montreal served as the perfect backdrop for Charette’s vision of a space that remains warm and bright throughout the year.

Central to the design is the concept of “light and bright,” brought to life using de Gournay‘s hand-painted wall coverings in fresh mint, decorated with flying butterflies. These elements beautifully complement the original shapes of the KOKET Nymph Wall Lamp and the organic curves of the CIRCU Tristen Bed.

Charette’s attachment to the Tristen Bed stems not only from its youthful appeal but also from its ergonomic design, which makes it easy for children to climb in and out of, enhancing both its functionality and charm.

The Bed:

Charette paired the modern lines of the bed with the unique design of the Boca do Lobo Wave Nightstand and the funky style of Delightfull’s Billy Table Lamp. By blending these contemporary pieces with the classic elements in the decor of this luxury kids’ room, Charette has crafted a unique space that breathes a natural breeze of inspiration into any child’s environment.

This combination not only adds aesthetic appeal but also stimulates the imagination, making the room a perfect sanctuary for creativity and dreams.

The seating area:

The room also includes a cozy seating area perfect for young readers. Centred around the CIRCU Dainty Armchair, this space is tailored for kids, with the chair’s delicate structure and elegant design enhancing the room’s charm. Its pink velvet upholstery adds a vibrant pop of color, enriching the room’s palette. To distinctly separate this reading corner from the rest of the sleeping area, Charette chose the Boca Do Lobo Gold Folding Screen from Covet House, which not only adds an element of privacy but also contributes a touch of sophistication to the space.

The Play and Study area:

David Charette aimed to create a space with an “Out of Africa” vibe to spark a child’s imagination and inspire a passion for lifelong adventures and travels. Drawing from fond memories of camping during his own childhood, Charette incorporated a Teepee Tent into the room’s design, allowing children to feel as they are camping in a forest right within their own bedroom.

This nature-inspired theme is beautifully complemented by the Fornasetti wall coverings from Cole & Son and the Filigree Cricket Wall Lamp, which are insect-shaped sconces by Boca do Lobo.

Adding to the ambiance, Charette notes, “The clouds on the ceiling further the idea of camping (in this case “glamping”) and dreaming, and the Circu Cloud Suspension lamps add to the dreamy camping vibe.”

To maintain this adventurous theme, Charette selected the CIRCU NODO Suspension Chair. It not only brings a hint of outdoor fun indoors with an elegant flair but also offers a comfy spot for kids to unwind and lose themselves in their favorite stories.

In his design, David Charette, of Britto Charette, focused on enhancing the sense of freedom and sparking children’s imaginations in their own space. He chose one of his favorite pieces from CIRCU, the Sky Desk, for its playful design and inspirational form. Shaped like an airplane, this desk not only becomes the central feature of playtime but also transforms homework into an exciting adventure. The unique design aims to captivate and motivate young minds, turning everyday tasks into a flight of imagination.

David Charette designed this luxury children’s room with the hope that it would inspire children to dream, play, and develop a deep respect for nature as they embark on their own adventures.

He crafted the room to be “transitional,” capable of evolving with a child from toddler years into adolescence. This design approach not only aims to create a lasting, imaginative space for children but also to show parents the value of investing in unique, high-quality pieces like those from Circu. These carefully chosen items stand out from mass-produced children’s designs, offering both aesthetic appeal and long-term utility.


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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