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Articles by Brenda Baletti

Brenda Baletti has a master's degree in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin and is a Ph.D candidate in at the University of North Carolina. She currently lives in Santarem, Brazil where she does research on struggles over territorial rights, environmental politics, and agricultural change.

Featured Article

On the Arapiuns River, barges of illegally taken timber smolder after being set aflame to protest logging in Gleba Nova Olinda, Amazon Rainforest. All photos: Brenda Baletti

While world leaders were meeting in Copenhagen to address the challenge of climate change last month, indigenous and traditional Brazilians in the Amazon region were gathering to defend one the globe’s most important climate-stabilizing resources: the rainforest.

The protesters are battling against the evisceration of their homelands by illegal logging. At the root of the conflict lie two competing conceptions of the rainforest: 1) it can be a place that supports traditional communities and a variety of plant and animal specis; or 2) it can be a source of cheap wood, soy, and beef for global markets.

Just as the Copenhagen effort ended in a frustrating stalemate, the success of this uprising remains very much in doubt. But while the Copenhagen drama involved heated meetings and street protests, blazes are being set and shots being fired in the rainforest.

Showdown on the River

Early one morning in late November, a group of 30 people set out by motorized canoes from ... Read more