NGOs in Latin America

Guardians of the Amazon

The argument in favour of NGOs is that they may be able to change the world for the better, or, at least, to play a significant role in protecting it. Perhaps the clearest example of the potential soft power of the third sector is its role in seeking to preserve the biodiversity of the Amazon. This particular story also highlights the policy dilemmas and conflicts that many of these organisations end up facing. NGOs have been active in the Amazon for well over half a century. Now, in the 2020s, global warming is being seen as an existential threat to humanity. If governments and civil society fail to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, and to limit cumulative temperature rises since the start of the pre-industrial age to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the scientific consensus is that the world is going to become increasingly uninhabitable. Fairly or unfairly, what happens to the gigantic Amazon biome will play a large part in determining whether the world avoids ecological disaster. It is therefore not excessively reductionist to say the interplay of NGOs, Brazilian governments, and other international lobbies and interested parties may hold the key to our future.

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