By Bernardo Oliveira
The fight for public policies that serve the population of Mid-Juruá is an old one. It began before the creation of RDS Uacari and RESEX Mid-Juruá nature reserves, when residents of local communities vocalized and united themselves in organizations that established, in addition to the creation of reserves, the possibility of enabling supply chains that were previously little explored and that are currently a very important source of income for the sustenance of these people.
Today, one of the main protagonists in this battle is Associação Ambiental, Extrativistas, Pescadores e Produtores Rurais de Itamarati (AAEPPRI). The association was born in the Walterburi community with only 12 members, who had the idea of promoting the preservation of biodiversity, the use of natural resources, and the sustainable development in the region. AAEPPRI now has 211 members of several communities in the municipality of Itamarati, in the state of Amazonas.
The organization supports four nesting sites for the conservation of Amazon River’s turtles in different communities, and is starting to implement the handling of arapaima in the area, as well as offering environmental education to its members. The fight, alongside government and civil society, is to have rights to income, to a healthy and conserved environment, and to a dignified life for the habitants of Amazon’s most inland communities.
The union of the riverside population from the region in organizations like AAEPPRI was, and still is, fundamental for Amazon’s sustainable development and preservation. It is essential that our governments listen to these organizations and make decisions based on their demands, so that the Amazon can grow and develop in a healthy way, involving the residents of these rural communities in projects that aim at the sustainable exploitation of the forest’s natural resources.