Brazil is smoldering, still. The surge of fires that raged across the Amazon in July and August has now spread to the country’s biodiverse savanna lands in the Cerrado, where the number of fires in September was double what it was a year ago.
There’s no question that most of these fires are the result of human actions to clear lands for the expansion of large-scale soybean, cattle and corn agribusiness operations, with many multinational agribusiness firms and their financiers implicated in the destruction. Now, we have evidence that the Cerrado fires are also linked to other US-based financial interests: the Harvard University Endowment and TIAA, the private pension fund that invests on behalf of millions of teachers, academics, nurses and government workers nationwide.
Jim Goodman, Board President of the National Family Farm Coalition, said: “Short-sighted, power-hungry governments allow and incentivize corporate agribusinesses and land speculators to control the global food system for their one and only priority — profit. Burning off rain forests and savannas of Brazil and consolidating massive tracts of farmland in the U.S. will only cause more famine, more environmental devastation, and more economic suffering for family farmers and rural communities. These corporations and the financial institutions that support them, whether in the U.S. or in Brazil, must be held accountable.”