The environmental movement in Brazil continues to gain credibility and support as scientific findings confirm its warnings and that natural disasters are becoming increasingly frequent. Yet this growing awareness has yet to reach political decision makers, much to the frustration of environmentalists.
A recent survey conducted by Datafolha, the polling institute of a major São Paulo newspaper, at the request of a group of environmental organizations, showed that of the 1,286 people interviewed, 85 percent said that protecting forests and rivers is a priority, even if it affects agricultural production, while only 10 percent held the opposite view, despite the fact that Brazil is a major agricultural power.
However, in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress, an overwhelming majority voted in favor of changes to the 1965 Forest Code that threaten to further accelerate deforestation. The final tally was 410 votes in favor, a mere 63 against and one abstention, after months of heated debate over reforms that could lead to the devastation of the Amazon rainforest, environmental disasters, and future losses even for the farmers who will benefit from the reforms in the short term.
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