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Women against “green deserts” (eucalyptus monoculture), R.G. do Sul, Brazil

Mulheres Em Ação, Eucalipto No Chão! Direct actions against eucalyptus plantations on Women´s Day 2006. against the Aracruz company.


On March 8th, 2006, around 3000 women from the Via Campesina occupied the Aracruz Cellulose´s eucalyptus nurseries located in Barra do Ribeiro (Rio Grande do Sul). Two months earlier, the company, with the assistance of the Federal Police, promoted the eviction of indigenous people in Espírito Santo. The occupation in Barra do Ribeiro (in RGS) was in solidarity with the evited indigenous people in Espirito Santo, and also as a protest against the "green deserts" in RGS.   Organized women destroyed more than five million of eucalyptus seedlings aiming to denounce the social and environmental consequences of the advance of the monoculture of eucalyptus in their lands and to condemn what they called “green latifundia” and/or “green desserts”.  Women from the Via Campesina, jointly with Landless Workers' Movement (MST) complained against this monoculture because of the land grabbing, the high use of water (each tree around 30 liters per day) and because of the use  of chlorine in the bleaching process of the eucalyptus pulp which according to them, might cause several health damages such as cancer and nervous diseases.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Women against “green deserts” (eucalyptus monoculture), R.G. do Sul, Brazil
State or province:Rio Grande do Sul
Location of conflict:Barra do Ribeiro
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Cellulose
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Aracruz Celulose (ancien name) is the largest company planting eucalyptus. In 2009, there were 250 thousand hectares planted in land, 50 thousand only in Rio Grande do Sul. Its factories used to produce 2.4 million tons of bleached pulp per year. The company used to generate one job for every 185 hectares planted.

Project area:around 247,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:08/03/2006
Company names or state enterprises:Aracruz Celulose S.A from Norway
Aracruz Celulose / Fibria Celulose from Brazil
Relevant government actors:Government of Brazil.
International and Finance InstitutionsBanco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) from Brazil
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Via Campesina; Movimento das Mulheres Camponesas (MMC).
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
Development of alternatives:-Agrarian Reform
-Local agriculture
-Food sovereignty
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The women´s action itself was as success as they could reach the aim of destroy the eucalyptus seedlings as a symbol to establish their position against monoculture. But, despite this action Brazil remains one of the higher producers of cellulose around the world.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Eucalipto , Aracruz Celulose and Human Rights Violations
[click to view]

Mulheres camponesas na luta contra o agronegócio
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Trabalhadores rurais ocupam fazenda da Aracruz no RS
[click to view]

Mulheres Em Ação, Eucalipto No Chão!
[click to view]

Fiocruz Map Via Campesina e Movimento das Mulheres Camponesas em luta direta contra a monocultura do eucalipto
[click to view]

Mulheres depredam fábrica de celulose no RS
[click to view]

Manifesto das Mulheres Camponesas
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Protesto das mulheres na Aracruz completa 5 anos, 2011-03-11,

Por Bianca Costa. Da Página do MST.
[click to view]

Other comments:Foi no dia 8 de março
O tão comentado fato
Onde mulheres num ato
Destruíram um monstro forte
Tiveram mais do que sorte,
Estratégia e esperteza
Foi pelo universo e natureza
E contra um projeto de morte!
Meta information
Contributor:ENVJustice Project (G.N)
Last update19/04/2017
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