Hero of the Forest
We are in Manahus, the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. Today we flew over hundreds of miles of virgin forest, punctuated by huge tracts of land that have been deforested for logging, cattle or soy production. (Much of the land ends up growing soy beans to be sold to Cargill.) 20% of the forest has been lost. What's left is breathtaking. What's gone a disaster. In the town of Santarem, in Para, we met Father Edilberto Sena, who works in partnership with Greenpeace Brazil.
Here is a man whose life has been threatened for his efforts to save the forest and honor the rights of the native population that is being forced out. A man who has dedicated his life to saving the local community. A leader as inspiring as Gandhi. A man who has inspired the whole local community to stand up, stop the sale of land to those who will destroy it, and protect the forest that has provided for it for generations untold.
But he is also a man with a price tag on his head. Edilberto has summoned the authority of the bishop and the Pope to his cause. He is a testiment to the potential and possibility of leadership and local organizing. It was an honor to meet him and to be able to experience the possibility of the power of local communities to fight multinational corporations.