On May 28, 2020, Jane Fonda, Morgan Freeman, Carlos Santana, Peter Gabriel, and numerous other artists will join indigenous leaders, scientists, and a broad coalition of NGOs in hosting Artists United for Amazonia: Protecting the Protectors, a global livestream event. The event is being produced by Artists for Amazonia.
The two-hour event, to run from 8pm to 10pm ET, will be hosted by activist, actress, and Game of Thrones co-star Oona Chaplin. The livestream will be available via Facebook and www.artistsforamazonia.org
The program will promote the Amazon Emergency Fund, launched last month by a coalition of indigenous organizations, NGOs, and allies to respond to the urgent needs of indigenous peoples of the Amazon threatened by COVID-19. Funds raised will be used for: immediate prevention and care; food and medical supplies; emergency communications and evacuation; protection and security for indigenous territories; & food sovereignty and community resilience.
The Amazon Emergency Fund aims to raise $5 million over the next 60 days for Forest Guardians to protect themselves against the pandemic in all nine Amazonian countries.
The Artists United for Amazonia global livestream event will feature an inspiring mix of living-room musical performances, informative interviews, indigenous wisdom, and calls to action. Apart from Fonda, Santana, Freeman, and Gabriel, performers include Herbie Hancock, Rocky Dawuni, Butterscotch Clinton, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Cary Elwes, Alfre Woodard, Wade Davis, Wagner Moura, and Brazilian Grammy winners Ivan Lins and Luciana Souza.
Right now, there are over 92,000 known COVID-19 cases and over 5,000 confirmed deaths across the Amazon. As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, indigenous peoples are increasingly at risk and could face a potential ethnocide. The Achuar indigenous peoples in Ecuador have reported a dozen cases, the Shipibo of Peru have reported 45 deaths, and in Brazil there have been 121 deaths and 846 cases.
Due to a lack of healthcare resources across the region, cases are likely underreported and illegal deforestation and extraction activities on indigenous lands further heighten the risk of exposure. In April, hundreds of organizations across the globe signed on for a moratorium against incursions into the Amazon and called to end all destructive activity that further degrades and deforests the Amazon. Indigenous peoples are the best stewards and protectors of the Amazon rainforest and so their protection is vital for the health of our planet.
Many scientists, including George Mason University professor Thomas Lovejoy, have warned that a tipping point in the Amazon has already been reached. Lovejoy warns that this could cause the release of massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere at a time when the world desperately needs carbon reductions.
“We cannot wait any longer for our government…we are in danger of extinction,” said Jose Gregorio Diaz Mirabel, general coordinator of COICA (Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin) and member of the Wakeunai Kurripaco people of Venezuela.
The line-up of artists, celebrities, influencers indigenous and NGO leaders participating in the event includes: Jane Goodall, Peter Gabriel, Jane Fonda, Herbie Hancock, Cary Elwes, Alfre Woodard, Tom Bergeron, Morgan Freeman, Ed Begley Jr., Frances Fisher, Wagner Moura, Carlos Santana, Ivan Lins, Matti Caspi, Suyan Caspi, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Wendie Malick, Scottie Thompson, Kali Uchis, Oona Chaplin, Rocky Dawuni, Celine Cousteau, Matthew Modine, Q’orianka Kilcher, Chloe Smith from Rising Appalachia, Luciana Souza, Sonia Guajajara, Angela Kaxuyana, Nina Gualinga, Benki Piyako, Mapu Huni Kuin, Lizardo Cauper, Thomas Lovejoy, Carlos Nobre, Atossa Soltani, Leila Salazar-López, Christina Miller, and Wade Davis.
“This event is part of an extraordinary alliance of organizations and individuals dedicated to preserving the most biodiverse region on Earth,” comments Sarah duPont, founder of Amazon Aid Foundation and Co-Director of River of Gold. “Illicit and unregulated gold mining is one of the most dangerous forms of deforestation in the Amazon Basin and releases toxic mercury into the ecosystem. Since the pandemic, gold mining has exploded across the Amazon and into indigenous territories bringing with it violence and COVID-19. Now, the Amazon is at the tipping point and the protectors of the Amazon are under dire threat. What happens in the Amazon affects us all.”
Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch, added: “The Amazon and its peoples are in a state of emergency due to climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a crime against nature and a crime against humanity. It is a time for all to unite and act in defense of the forest and in solidarity with the indigenous and traditional peoples across the Amazon who are protecting this great rainforest and our climate for all of humanity and life on Earth.”
SOURCE: Artists for Amazonia