For 20 years, Émilie Barrucand has worked to defend the rights, cultures and lands of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, in particular through her NGO Wayanga and as an expert advisor to NGOs, politicians and funds and ethical companies with positive impacts for indigenous peoples and Nature. At a time when the acceleration of deforestation is upsetting the fragile balances of this area even more, the ethnologist calls for everyone’s responsibility to protect these peoples and this forest, in particular by promoting responsible commercial and financial practices in Europe.
A committed ethnologist, Émilie Barrucand has been working for 20 years now to help preserve the Amazon and the indigenous populations who live there. Always anxious to make their fate known and to propose concrete actions to reverse the destructive trend affecting this region of the globe, the young woman is multiplying complementary actions in order to deal with the emergency.
Émilie Barrucand explains: “The creation of Wayanga, in 2002, followed an awareness, very young, concerning the future of the Amazonian forest and the indigenous populations whose natural habitat it is. Currently, their situation is increasingly critical: the large number of fires that were recorded there again last year demonstrates that there is a real urgency. We can no longer deny what the latest studies show, that deforestation has increased so much lately that the Amazon rainforest is now struggling to absorb carbon emissions from the planet. If nothing is done, within 15 to 30 years, it risks reaching a point of no return and turning into savannah and leading to irremediable and dramatic climatic and ecological transformations, with all the economic and social consequences that one can imagine.”
At a time when certain studies are suggesting that the next pandemic likely to affect humanity could find its origin in the Amazon, if this forest continued to undergo the devastating action of man, the ethnologist warns in particular of the role of international trade and financial flows in this process and on the actions that must be put in place without delay.
“Europe weighs heavily on the destruction of the Amazonian forest, explains Emilie Barrucand. On the one hand, it represents, after China, the second largest importer of Brazilian soybeans, the leading cause of deforestation in Brazil – and France is also one of the largest European importers. On the other hand, European banks, and moreover renowned French banks, are investing in local Brazilian companies that are among the biggest destroyers of the Amazonian forest, from which large groups and tricolor brands also source materials raw materials (leather, meat, etc.). To avoid a predicted catastrophe, it is everyone’s responsibility to no longer invest in or source from companies that participate in deforestation and disrespect for indigenous peoples!”
The ethnologist continues: “It is imperative to design and implement investment projects that include respect for, and even protection of, forests and these peoples – via, for example, the creation of impact and dedicated funds to the protection of biodiversity, with standards of full respect and support for indigenous peoples.”
Already, animal species – such as the jaguar and the macaw – are threatened with extinction in the Amazon, even though they were until now preserved by the interventions of the indigenous populations, anxious to safeguard the nature which surrounds them.
For several years, Walter Billet Avocats has supported Émilie Barrucand’s actions by providing her with legal expertise for all the projects she is required to carry out as part of her activities. The firm acts as follows:
- thanks to the projects that the ethnologist regularly structures in Brazil – as part of a follow-up with the Brazilian and French organizations involved in them, as well as with partners and sponsors;
- for contracts entered into with television channels wishing to broadcast reports on the actions of Wayanga and Emilie Barrucand;
- on other related issues that it is currently studying, in particular alongside NGOs and managers of ethical and committed investment funds.
Alan Walter, co-founding partner of Walter Billet Avocats, explains: “For several years, Émilie Barrucand’s actions have raised awareness both of the dangers that threaten this region of South America, endowed with a natural heritage unique in the world, as well as on the need to act in favor of the populations who live there and to preserve their cultures. We can only share the humanist values that she defends and we are delighted to join her side to help her carry them ever further.”
Since its creation, Walter Billet Avocats has always been keen to contribute to flagship projects structured around strong human values, within the framework of pro bono missions. In addition to interventions alongside Émilie Barrucand, the firm:
- is a founding member of the Attention Hyperconnexion collective, structured at the end of 2020 to raise awareness among all audiences about the dangers of overexposure to digital technology and to promote responsible digital practices;
- regularly contributes to the work carried out by the Association Française des Managers de la Diversité (AFMD), by deciphering legislative and regulatory developments in the field of labor law – as most recently on the subject of gender parity supported by the Rixain law.