Where the Trees are a Desert
Destruction wreaked by plantations in Brazil
KÖLN, GERMANY, 19:30, JUNE 9TH, 2004. Today, the multi-media exhibition, 'Where the Trees are a Desert', will launch showing the devastation to people and the environment wreaked by monoculture tree plantations in Brazil. While the World Bank's "CarbonExpo" place elsewhere in Köln to publicise the so-called climate benefits of the proposed activities, this photo-exhibition will show the other side of the story from the perspective of the people experiencing the devastating effects of these projects.
In the year of the World Bank's 60th anniversary, the Bank's new climate change funds have created extra problems for communities and the environment. The Prototype Carbon Fund was set up in 1999 to facilitate the new trade in greeenhouse gases created under the Kyoto Protocol. The exhibition shows that so far the fund has exacerbated existing human rights violations and furthered environmental destruction.
One of the fund's model projects expands monoculture eucalyptus plantations owned by the corporation, Plantar SA. The plantations were originally established by forcibly evicting geraiszeiros, indigenous and others from the land and since then the plantation's owners have been accused of creating "slave-like conditions". Furthermore, the plantations have heavily polluted surrounding water sources thus devastating the livelihoods of local farmers and fisher-folk.
The World Bank will fund the expansion of these plantations in order to generate 'carbon credits' for the international trade in greenhouse gases. However on top of the impacts upon the local environment and peoples, there is no guarantee that the project will actually have a permanent positive effect on the climate. Marcelo Calazans from local Brazilian NGO, FASE-ES, states:
"This and many other projects have terrible negative impacts on local people and environments and it is still unclear if there is any real benefits for the climate. We believe that the Prototype Carbon Fund should cease operations and close down immediately."
The multi-media exhibition opens Wednesday, 9th June at 1930 with films, audio, and photography and runs until Friday 11th June. Alte Feuerwache, Melchoirstraat 3, entry is free. For more information please contact Tamra Gilbertson on +31 6425 25 766 and see the programme on www.tni.org/exhibit.