from U*U Sisters Olga Flores & Carmen Capriles of Bolivia
and Erin Beasley, Climate Change Policy Expert from U.S.
Dear U*U sisters and brothers,
While there is a lot of media coverage about the fires in Brazil, equally devastating fires have been burning in Bolivia. 2 million hectares (almost 5 million acres) of unique forest ecosystems and grassland have been destroyed since August due to human activities. Much of the land burning comprises highly valuable natural areas hosting a unique biodiversity and providing essential ecosystem services of worldwide importance. About half of the losses is within protected areas. Government support to tackle the fires is very weak and most fires are currently tackled by professional voluntary firefighters with little means, supported by an array of citizen collectives. Additional (international) capacity to put out the fires is needed; Bolivians are now pressuring the president to declare a national emergency immediately. Two recent presidential decrees – which allow burning of natural lands and forests to benefit agribusiness owners and other groups at a massive environmental and social cost – need to be revoked right away. The Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Bolivia, representing many indigenous groups in the country, is planning a major protest march starting September 16.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Support grassroots groups working on the ground to stop the fires and protect the forests:
Donate to the organization that Carmen Capriles works for on the ground, Naturaleza en Emergencia, to buy and take emergency material towards the affected region. They deliver materials as requested by the firefighters themselves on the frontlines. Bank transfer information: Account holders’ name: Carmen Capriles Flores and Alexandra Sainz; Bank name: Banco Nacional de Bolivia; Address of bank: Ave. Camacho Eso Colon #3296, La Paz – Bolivia; SWIFT (BIC) code BNBOBOLXXXX; Bank account number (USD): 1900-6333-15. Please mention “funds for Chiquitania.”
Donate online to Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International): Donations will go toward firefighting equipment for volunteers, support for local communities who are living under the smoke and fumes from the fires, and veterinarian support for the animals who have been burned by the fires. When donating, please put “for Bolivia” in the notes.