Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Killing trees is murder: Zé Cláudio Ribeiro at TEDxAmazonia

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Translator: TED Translators admin Reviewer: Denise RQ

Thank you.

I am going to start my talk

by telling you a story

about the place where I live, my town,

and by telling you a little bit

about my life story up to today.

In 1997, in the town of Nova Ipixuna, the first PAE was created,

Extractivism Settlement Project, Praia Alta Piranheira.

We had a vegetation cover of 85%, made up of native forest,

which was made up mostly of nut and cupuaçu trees.

Today, with the arrival of loggers

and pig iron producers in Marabá,

today, there is only 20% of this vegetation cover left,

already fragmented in many places.

It's a disaster for those like me who live off extractivism,

I have been extracting nuts since I was 7,

I live off the forest, I protect it in every way I can.

That's why I live at gunpoint all the time.

Because I don't just stand around,

I denounce loggers, I denounce the charcoal burners,

and that's why they think I shouldn't exist.

The same thing that was done to Chico Mendes in the state of Acre,

They want to do with me.

The same thing that was done to Sister Dorothy, they want to do with me.

I may be talking to you here today,

and in a month, you may hear the news that I've disappeared.

I ask myself: Am I scared? I am.

I am a human being, I get scared.

But it doesn't make me shut my mouth.

As long as I am able to walk,

I will be denouncing those who harm the forest.

The trees in the Amazon are my sisters.

I am a son of the forest.

I live off them, I depend on them, I am part of them.

When I see one of these trees on top of a truck

going to the sawmill, it brings me such pain.

It's as if I were watching a funeral procession

taking the dearest person I've got.

Why? It's life.

It's life to me, who lives in a forest,

It's life to all of you who live in urban centers.

Because it is purifying the air, it is giving us a return.

And the disobedience of a group of people

who can only think of capital, of themselves,

and not of future generations or anything else.

They are doing whatever they want in our town.

It's a shame

because nobody takes any brave step to solve this problem.

This is the obstacle.

My objective, as I live off the forest,

I make a living from it,

This nut tree, as I have extracted nuts since I was little,

to sell them, as they are.

As prices have plummeted, and I have to survive,

now I am industrializing them on my own land.

I produce oil, top quality oil, which is rich in selenium,

good for preparing all kinds of food, for frying, everything.

and it's used as olive oil is, on salads.

The residue is called bagasse, from which you can make ice cream, cookies,

whatever you can imagine to eat.

It is already arriving in markets little by little.

people from the university from the CPP, CNS, Belém,

are always buying this oil,

because it not only good for eating, but also as medicine.

As you know, selenium combats cancer.

Adding value to the forest,

the forest has to be preserved at all costs,

because everything it contains generates profit, money.

I am a liana vine craftsman.

If business is bad, I get some liana vine and make 10 baskets.

I make 100 reals from 10 baskets, which I make in one day.

A small basket.

If it is a bigger one, I make R$20 each R$ 200 a day.

And the forest is there, providing for me.

Whenever I want I just go there and get it.

Now, some people think that it can only provide resources if it is cut down,

if it is burnt to produce coal.

This makes me sad.

Now I am going to ask something of all of you here:

when you want to buy something that was made from timber,

that came from the forest, check the origin.

This is the only way we can start slowing things down

something which we can't do from there.

If you start to say no to timber of suspicious origin,

to timber with an unknown origin,

the market will begin to weaken

and they will no longer see the results they hoped for.

They either abide by the law, or they close down.

However, as long as people keep purchasing illegal timber,

people who purchase illegal products from the forest, this will continue.

and those who lose are those who live in the forest

and you, who won't have the forest later, because it will be gone one day.

And if it's gone, how are people to survive,

how are we going to survive?

First the water will be gone.

Then food will not grow.

We won't have enough rain,

as was said here earlier by other speakers.

Food for thought,

these are things we have to sleep on:

Is deforestation viable? No!

The forest is viable when it is standing.

It's something you don't have to water or fertilize,

all you have to do is go there and gather what it produces.

There, on my small piece of land,

I produce nut oil, cupuaçu butter, and pulp,

I make crafts with liana vine and timber,

I use the timber that nature brings down,

the timber that nature puts on the ground for me

I go there and use it.

In place of the one that fell, I plant another.

Because when I am gone, things will continue,

other people will come,

and they will want the same thing I have today.

The forest is twice as sustainable when it is standing

because when you cut it down, you only have once chance,

whereas when you leave it there, you will always have it.

You will have it today, tomorrow,

when you're gone, other people stay,

and they will enjoy the forest

the same way you did, and they will live well.

Is it possible that this will be the future of the Amazon?

Is it possible that this will be the future of the planet?

I don't think we want this, not even today.

How about those who will come next?

Will they inherit something like this?

Disfigured, dead?

It's something for us to analyze, it's something to think about.

Whether this is what we want.

No, it's in our hands,

and we have the future ahead of us.

and we have to decide whether it's this,

or that first image I put up.

Thank you.


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