Environmental Damage caused by Deforestation in Salta is alarming

By Tracey Chandler

Considering the damage already caused to our natural world, it seems obvious to many that saving the planet be at the very top of our list of things to do. The reality is, unfortunately, not as we would have hoped.

The need to be more conscious about and take responsibility for the unforgivable contamination of our planet’s ecosystem, is an obligation which is long overdue. The human race has shown little respect for the effect that climate change has had on the planet’s vegetation, and little care for the knock-on effect that this is having on fauna across the globe – many species have already disappeared and thousands continue to be in danger.

The time to get serious is now. Every single action to pollute our planet affects the environmental balance. Many forests across the world, supposedly within protected areas, are hacked down for industry purposes and in the name of “progress”. By doing nothing to prevent these reckless acts, we become silent and guilty accomplices.

The grand question is whether or not we’re interested in leaving the planet intact for our children and grandchildren, because the planet won’t be able to take much more of our arrogant mistreatment.

In August 2014, Greenpeace Argentina issued an important report which revealed the devastating truth about the many violations of Argentine laws — those which have been put in place to protect areas rich in biodiversity. In just two months, Greenpeace’s report explains, more than 6350 hectares of protected forests in the region of Salta were hacked to the ground — the equivalent of a third of the surface area of Buenos Aires, the country’s capital city.

Greenpeace, various social and environmental organisations, as well as renowned Argentine actors — including Ricardo Darín and Leonardo Sbaraglia — have joined forces to make sure that the violations of environmental laws in Salta are made public. Governor of Salta Province, Juan Manuel Urtubey, has been accused of allowing illegal acts against the environment to occur.

In September 2014, Executive Director of Greenpeace, Martin Prieto, formally denounced the farm owners of La Luz del Chaco, accusing them of recklessly destroying native forest areas in the Salta region. La Luz del Chaco is situated within an area protected by Argentina’s Forest Law — legislation that’s been in force since 2007. Greenpeace’s Director made the complaint official via the fiscal delegation of Tartagal — an Argentine city of 85,000 people located in the north of the country.

To this day, all efforts on behalf of the likes of Greenpeace and environmental activists have been in vain. Salta’s forests continue to be illegally exploited at the hands of private landowners and industry entrepreneurs. Residents and environmental campaign leaders believe Urtubey to be part of the problem.

Desperate measures have caused the same Greenpeace activists to resort to extreme measures — entering onto the private grounds of La Luz del Chaco with the sole objective of standing in the line of bulldozers and other forest-destroying machines. The organisation is concerned not just about the effects that the destruction of these forests is having on the region’s ecosystem, but also the effects that it’s having on the socio-economic conditions of daily, local life.

As such, a number of Greenpeace activists were detained by the police during the first few days of October 2014. They’d previously set up camp in the fields next to Cuchuy Farm, located in the region of San Martín. Their personal belongings were confiscated by the local police and they were held in custody for a few hours.

Hernan Giardini, Greenpeace’s Campaign Coordinator, spoke out in defiance of the lack of law enforcement against those who are truly breaking Argentine law.

“Under the governance of Urtubey, Salta is the world turned upside-down — forest destruction is allowed in those areas that are protected by the law, whilst those who block the bulldozers are thrown in jail,” Giardini told the press upon being released.

Before being forced to move, Greenpeace activists had managed to occupy the fields of Cuchuy Farm for about a month.

“It’s evident that intimate relationship, between the governor and the great, private landowners, is one which violates the national forest law,” Giardini added.

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