Indigenous rights organization, Survival International, has awarded Brazilian cattle company, Yaguarete Porá S.A., its ‘Greenwashing Award 2010′ for destroying indigenous peoples’ forest—including uncontacted natives—and calling it conservation.
The cattle company, Yaguarete, owns 78,549 hectares within the UNESCO Chaco Biosphere Reserve in Paraguay. However the land is the traditional home of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe, which has been struggling since 1993 to gain rights to their land.
Recently, in response to satellite images revealing that Yaguarete has bulldozed thousands of hectares of land for cattle ranching, the company stated that it intends to create a ‘nature reserve’, according to Survival International.
The company Yaguarete is named after America’s biggest cat, the jaguar, but the company threatens this species by deforesting its habitat. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
The company is “dressing up the wholesale destruction of a huge area of the Indians’ forest as a noble gesture for conservation,” says Survival International’s director Stephen Corry.
According to Paraguay’s Environment Ministry this reserve will cover less than a quarter of the company’s land (16,784 hectares) with the rest open to conversion. The Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe contends that any nature reserve steps on their rights as the traditional land holders under Paraguayan and international law.
“This is textbook ‘greenwashing’: bulldoze the forest and then ‘preserve’ a bit of it for PR purposes. The public won’t fall for it. Yaguarete should stop playing games and pull out of the Totobiegosode’s territory once and for all,” said Corry.
Another bit of greenwashing: Yaguarete is Spanish for jaguar, an animal still surviving in the Chaco Biosphere Reserve, but threatened mostly by deforestation.