Arthur Lira wins Greenpeace Brasil 2021 Golden Chainsaw

Greenpeace activists stage the delivery of the Golden Chainsaw Award Edition 2021 to the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira (PP-AL) Photo: Adriano Machado / Greenpeace

This Tuesday morning, August 17, we held a peaceful protest in front of the entrance to the Chamber of Deputies, in Brasília, staging the delivery of the Golden Chainsaw Trophy Edition 2021 to the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira (PP-AL ).

With a production inspired by the Oscar awards, with a red carpet, guests dressed in galas and a master of ceremonies, the activity aimed to denounce the destructive herd that Arthur Lira has been experiencing in the Chamber, by putting to vote bills that threaten the Amazon and other natural environments, the peoples of the forest, the countryside and the city and the global climate.

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In the reenactment, Greenpeace activists dressed as party guests awaited the big winner. A man characterized as Arthur Lira got out of a luxury car, wearing his badge of “employee of the month of the Bolsonaro (dis)government” around his neck.

“Arthur Lira is now President Jair Bolsonaro's number one official, as he has put to the vote a series of bills that go against the interests of the Brazilian population and that pray for the federal government's anti-environment booklet, and will further increase rates deforestation and fires, in addition to encouraging more theft of public lands and violence against traditional and rural populations,” says Thais Bannwart, Public Policy spokesperson for Greenpeace Brasil.

As president of the Chamber, Lira is the one who has the power to put to the vote or block proposals that are harmful to the environment and people. But, in less than six months in office, Lira has chosen to guide bills that represent a giant step backwards when it comes to environmental protection, such as the (non) Environmental Licensing PL and the Grilagem PL, and promises to advance against indigenous peoples and release more pesticides in the coming weeks.

National Congress closed under lock and key

The activist representing Arthur Lira was also holding a set of keys, which in the reenactment symbolized that the National Congress is “locked in with seven keys” to society.

"Arthur Lira takes advantage of the period of social distancing due to Covid-19, in which the National Congress is restricted to the circulation of people and votes are taking place in a semi-attendance system, to act in an undemocratic manner, guiding and approving projects without proper participation society and without transparency in voting”, says Thais.

However, Arthur Lira should set aside proposals that threaten the collective well-being and the Brazilian economy and focus on solutions to contain the political, economic and health crisis in the country.

A week ago, the United Nations (UN) released the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which warns about the climate emergency we are experiencing and reveals that human influence is responsible for a rise of 1.07°C in global temperature. Brazil plays a fundamental role in facing the climate crisis and deforestation in the Amazon, which continues to break records month after month, is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions in the country. That is why it is essential that we achieve zero deforestation with laws to curb human action in environmental destruction.

Golden Chainsaw is a trophy given by Greenpeace for several years to those who most encourage environmental destruction. The Chainsaw of Gold has already been handed over, for example, to senator Kátia Abreu, in 2010, for having defended the weakening of the Forest Code, encouraging deforestation. In 2005, the then governor of Mato Grosso Blairo Maggi was another recipient of the award from our activists, for his strong contribution to the degradation of the Amazon.

United society reproaches Arthur Lira's conduct

Civil society organizations such as the Climate Observatory, Social and Environmental Institute (ISA), Democracy and Sustainability Institute (IDS) and Society, Population and Nature Institute (ISPN) echoed the denunciation of the extremely harmful role that Arthur Lira has been playing as president of Chamber, when passing the herds of the Bolsonaro government's anti-environmental policy.

"The role of the president of the Chamber in enabling the approval of important legislation without due debate, knowing the negative impacts that these legislation will have on the environment and the climate in Brazil, qualifies him to receive the award." - Adriana Ramos, associate of the Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).

“In just six months as President of the Chamber, Deputy Arthur Lira has already matched anti-Minister Salles in damages to environmental policy. He made it possible to vote on two laws with very bad content, a text on environmental licenses that in practice implodes with licensing in the country and the Land Grabbing Law. Every week he announces agendas with environmental setbacks. In addition, he takes the processes directly to the plenary, with reports that appear at the last minute, practically no one can read before voting. A real disaster.” – Suely Araújo, Senior Public Policy Specialist at the Climate Observatory.

“Arthur Lira managed in six months to wreak havoc on Brazilian environmental policy and legislation, even greater than Salles himself in two and a half years of management in the executive. Above all, because it guides bills that are absolutely contrary to Brazilian environmental and climate policy, such as PL 3729 and PL 266. For this reason, it deserves the Motoserra de Ouro award. And this is also a signal to Rodrigo Pacheco that if he does not hold the herd in the Senate, he will also deserve this award.” – André Lima, Senior Policy and Law consultant at the Democracy and Sustainability Institute (IDS).

“The country's environmental governance structure is being dismantled, and social participation in public policy-making spaces is denied. The federal government has already shown disinterest in defending the environment, indigenous peoples and traditional communities. And, the current president of the Chamber of Deputies is at the service of those who profit from deforestation and illegal logging, who flirt with mining in Indigenous Lands and protected areas, promote illegal occupation of public lands and deny climate change. Lira seems to have no commitment to the future of Brazil, is in step with the President of the Republic, and together they are responsible for the worst setbacks in the country's socio-environmental policies. It does justice and deserves to be remembered with this Greenpeace award” – Guilherme Eidt, Public Policy advisor at the Society, Population and Nature Institute (ISPN).