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Olivia Ciafrei
Sawyer Wilson
Patrick Kinsey

Illegal logging in Brazil has increased massively over the years. Deforestation has become a major problem not only for the ecosystem but also the native peoples, the international community, and the many species that remain to be discovered in the Amazon such as medicinal plants. Many species have become endangered because they rely on the diverse ecology surrounding the trees. Tarcisio Feitosa de Silva is an activist dedicated to making a change and illegal logging in his quest to save the Amazon rainforest. He is one of the most prominent activists for this cause. Tarcisio’s greatest accomplishment for this cause is not his own actions but his belief that others should be educated about the problem so that it can be prevented in the future.

Feitosa has spent over ten years fighting for human rights, environmental protection and sustainable development in the middle lands of Para Brazil. Feitosa has succeeded in documenting many illegal logging incidents. One of the times he gave a tip to a government official who then raided the logging sites finding six thousand illegally felled mahogany trees. Feitosa made campaigns and sold these trees raising about 1.5 million dollars to create funds supporting Feitosa’s beliefs (conservation, and sustainable development). Feitosa is motivated and devoted to his work; he believes that the more he works towards ending illegal logging the more his experiences will educate others around the world to work towards the same.

“Here in the Amazon we have the greatest corridor of protected areas in the world. This is important to guarantee the lives of the human populations that depend on the forest to survive and to give continuity to the forest and its resources. The municipal, state and federal governments of Brazil should now assume their clear role in protecting these forests.” Feitosa’s parents were two Christian missionaries working in the villages of Amazonian natives. It was here that he was first exposed to the problem of illegal logging. The peoples of the Amazon have had a constant history of struggling to harvest food from the Amazon, in recent years however the mass deforestation has significantly reduced the amount of plants and animals that they can use for food. Tarcisio has been teaching the natives new methods of conservation and sustainable farming in an effort to reduce the effects of the deforestation and aid them in re-growing the deforested areas.

One notable movement which Feitosa organized was the barricading of a massive river mouth through which illegal logs are carried on barges to legitimate logging sites where they are passed off as legally cut logs. Feitosa and community members strung their boats together in a make-shift wall to block the progress of the barges, allowing the government to seize the logs and sell them in an auction for conservation funding. Because of his actions and the actions of people who follow him, several assassination attempts have been made on him and several of his prominent supporters, including the American nun Dorothy Stang, have been assassinated. Because of his works with the people of the Amazon, Tarcisio Feitosa Da Silva has accomplished much more than he could himself.

Tarcisio Feitosa Da Silva was recognized for his outstanding work by the Goldman Prize foundation in 2006. Since then, he has continued his work, not only saving the Amazon but also further educating himself as well as others with the prize money he received from the Goldman award. Through education Feitosa has accomplished an incredible amount of work and has also educated the next generation to follow in his footsteps.