Indigenous tribes of the Amazon will 'fight to the death' to save the rainforest

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Indigenous tribes of the Amazon will 'fight to the death' to save the rainforest

"We are worried because the forest is very important to us."

As Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who has said that indigenous people's rights don't matter, expands his for-profit ecological devastation of the rainforests, the indigenous tribes that make the forest their home prepare to defend their homes.

The world has been in an outcry over the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, which has been exacerbated in recent months thanks to a catastrophically dry season and massive deforestation due to the demands of Brazil's beef industry requiring ranching lands. Members of the indigenous population have appealed to the international community to help save their home in the face of the climate crisis.

Maristela Clediane Uapa Arara is 14 years old and a member of the Arara-Karo indigenous group spoke to the BBC about her concerns about the lands her people have lived in for generations. "We are worried because the forest is very important to us. The forest is our mother, she takes care of us, so we must take care of her because that's where everything comes from."

In the face of the outcry, Bolsonaro has extended a new policy to "integrate" the indigenous population into the industries that use their land, but locals remain skeptical. "This new government hates indigenous people but I am really proud to be indigenous, and as women it is our role to fight for our land," Maristela says.

What has been particularly upsetting to Maristela and her cousin Juliana Tuiti Arara is the amount of indigenous people who are also attacking the forest.

"It was very sad for us, people from outside are co-opting our indigenous people to log the forest," she explains as she fights back tears. "In the last years, we saw our relatives killing the trees, they came in with bulldozers."

Both say they will fight to the death to protect their home.

On the other side of the fence, a new generation of farmers are becoming aware of the impact their industry is having on the world. 16-year-old Carina de Faria and her brother Rodrigo, are concerned about the future of the planet as well as their own economic safety.

"I think that enough has been destroyed and what remains, should be left alone," says Rodrigo.

"Many of the people who are deforesting the woods are much older, but us young people realise that climate change is already happening," Carina adds.

"Young people are very connected through technology so we should work together. And also it is government's duty to find a solution for everyone."

Elsewhere, in the town of Manaus in the Amazonas state, a group of teens are trying to get their voices heard. Inspired by Greta Thunberg's climate change activism, 15-year-old Bruno Rodrigues and Ana Beatriz have started a group called Conscious Next.

"I was also very sad because of the trees and the animals burned there, it was shocking to me," Ana says. The Amazon is home to one in 10 species on earth and experts say the fires killed more than two million creatures, including jaguars, snakes, sloths and insects.

Bruno remains optimistic despite all the setbacks. "There is still hope in us - we live in action. The politicians need to take practical action and with thousands of us young people on the streets, it will be impossible for them to ignore us."

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