Nun May Protect Forests Posthumously

Let’s hope faith and courage overcomes greed and violence in the long run.

The murder of an American nun during an Amazon land dispute will serve as a wake up call for Brazil’s authorities to better protect the jungle from developers, Brazil’s president said in his first comments since the Feb. 12 slaying. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Monday that once those who ordered Dorothy Stang’s murder were behind bars, Brazil will show the world that, "in our government, there is no impunity, that the Amazon is ours and we will take control of our territory."

Stang, 73, a naturalized Brazilian, spent the past 20 years living in Brazil’s lawless Para state, trying to protect the rain forest and peasants from loggers and ranchers vying for the area’s rich natural resources.

Responding to the international outcry over her killing, Silva put nearly 19,900 square miles of Amazon land under federal environmental protection and suspended logging in some hotly disputed areas.

Brazil’s Amazon rain forest covers 1.6 million square miles. Its stands of hardwoods — mahogany, ipe and massaranduba — are coveted by loggers, who often flout laws and cut the timber illegally. The Amazon forest is essential to the success of the Kyoto pact because the vast wilderness absorbs carbon dioxide and produces oxygen. By contrast, burning the forest produces more greenhouse gas.

Source: Brazil Leader Vows to Catch Nun’s Killers.