Marina Silva: Amazon Champion Inspires in Washington

Photo: Rachel Kramer

The National Wildlife Federation’s international team hosted rainforest champion, Brazilian Senator, and presidential candidate Marina Silva for a press conference earlier today at NWF’s Washington, DC office.

Brazilian journalists covering Marina Silva’s visit to the U.S. capitol learned her impressions of the 40th anniversary Earth Day rally, where the Senator delivered an inspirational speech to a crowd of thousands this Sunday on the National Mall.

Marina Silva also touched on her special meeting Sunday night with famed Avatar director James Cameron, and discussed her meeting with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, where topics included how Brazil is tackling deforestation and climate change.

Marina Silva, who was born and raised in a remote village of rubber tappers in the western Amazon, is responsible for bringing climate change and forest conservation to the forefront of Brazil’s upcoming presidential campaign. She also notably pressed Brazil to take a leading role in last December’s climate change negotiations in Copenhagen.

Marina Silva has a remarkable story to tell. A public figure respected and admired throughout Brazil, she first learned to read at age 16, worked her way to a post-graduate degree, and became a labor organizer alongside Amazon martyr Chico Mendez. In 1994, Marina Silva became the youngest member ever elected to the Brazilian national Senate. She served as Environment Minister from 2003-2008, during which time she implemented unprecedented environmental protection programs, including the first serious enforcement of laws curbing deforestation and illegal logging.

Marina Silva is a compelling leader in the movement for environmental and social justice in Brazil, and is especially committed to inspiring youth. When asked about her meeting with James Cameron yesterday, she remarked that Avatar has gotten more young people in Brazil talking about their relationship with nature, the rainforest, and the earth than anything else in years.

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