The Zé Claudio e Maria Institute was born to help maintain the struggle for justice, the memory of the socioenvironmental martyrs, the support for the defenders of the environment who are threatened with death, the solidary economy, and to sow environmental education in an accessible way.
who are threatened with death, solidarity economy, and sow environmental education in an accessible way. Our mission is to bring more information about the struggles in defense of ecosystems, to strengthen the network of protection for defenders, and to continue denouncing the violence that happens in our country and in the four corners of the planet Earth, especially in environmental conflicts.
The name is a tribute to the extractivist couple from Pará, José Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espírito Santo, who were brutally torn from this life and sown to the ground 10 years ago. This story of martyrdom, deep love for the forest, and environmental activism is now known around the world. They were pioneers in helping to create the Praialta Piranheira Agro-extractive Settlement in 1997, in Nova Ipixuna, Pará, which supported 500 families in the sustainable extraction of typical regional fruits. For going against the interests of loggers, charcoal producers, medium and large landowners of the region who wanted to destroy the forest, they were killed in 2011.
A decade later, justice is incomplete and conflicts are increasing. We have reached the sad moment of genocide and destruction as state policy.
At the same time, the activism of society is growing, historic pilgrimages are happening, in addition to international conferences and actions. This challenging scenario is the right moment to strengthen our action through the Zé Claudio e Maria Institute, and continue to sow the dreams of all those who left their legacies here on Earth.
We want our martyrs alive.
All over the planet, thousands of environmental activists fight daily to protect forests, land, water, ecosystems, traditional populations, and against predatory economic activities that destroy the environment, such as: illegal mining, deforestation, wildlife trafficking, timber trafficking, mining, or simply to defend their own land and their conditions of existence. They risk their lives, are constantly threatened with death, and are victims of violence and persecution, often by the state itself, as is the case in Brazil today, and by powerful criminals. In 2020, 227 defenders were murdered. Seven of the 10 countries with the highest number of murders of environmental activists are in Latin America. 20 in Brazil, in disputes over land, defense of agrarian reform, combat against illegal logging and mining, agribusiness, protection of water and dams.
Dozens of organizations and social movements collaborate in the security of defenders: individual and collective, digital security, and legal security, including national and international law. Often, environmental activists need to move and leave their fighting territory because of the risk to their own and their family’s lives. This needs to change and it is urgent. Besides the just struggles they fight in their regions, they exercise, without borders, a fundamental role in the preservation of life itself, the good of humanity and of all living beings, because by defending standing forests and socio-environmental balance, they fight for the maintenance of living conditions.
We defend human rights, social justice on land, agrarian reform, solidarity and sustainable economy, preservation of the environment, demarcation of indigenous lands, protection of threatened defenders, justice for the murdered defenders, memory of the socio-environmental martyrs, and accessible forestry education for all.
Our fight is for rights, especially the right to life, because the preservation of our forests, rivers, streams, and all ecosystems is what maintains the conditions for life on Earth and halts the destruction of our planet. Let’s keep alive the memory of socio-environmental martyrs, who, in the midst of unacceptable violence, left teachings that will never die.
This fight is not only for environmentalists, it must be for all people committed to life and justice.
The Zé Claudio e Maria Institute (IZM) was born to help keep the fight for justice and sustainability on earth going, the memory of the martyrs of the forest, the support to the defenders of the environment who are threatened and to sow forestry education in the mind and in the heart of the entire population