Photographs of Thorpe woodlands, their varied habitats, plantlife and wildlife all taken by friends and supporters. most taken between 2010 and 2013

Thursday, 26 April 2012

More urgent than Thorpe Woods...

Thorpe Woods matter a lot to very many people. But what if the woods were, in the end, turned into housing estates? We might boil with rage or feel physically sick, or even fantasise about plotting revenge. We'd feel deep regret and sadness about losing the woods but, in time, these feelings would fade away to memories. Ultimately, we'd carry on with our lives as normal.

But there are still people on this Earth whose very existence depends completely on the forest.  Right now, as you're reading this, the Awa people of Maranhao State in Brazil are facing genocide because of the greed of a few people for their forest.  Logging companies (where did your furniture, front door or bit of plywood come from?), mining companies (where did the metal in your car or your tin of beans come from?) and cattle ranchers (very cheap, that Brazilian beef) are systematically destroying the Awa's forest, where they have lived for thousands of years.

The Awa are one of this planet's last remaining nomadic tribes. Half of their number have never been in any contact with the outside world. They live exclusively in and from the forest. It is their life.  But it's the usual story: forest stands in the way of potential profit, therefore forest has to go.  The Awa try their best to stand up against the developers, but they can't do anything against guns and bulldozers. Many have been murdered, many more severely wounded, and all of them terrorised. The genocide has escalated dramatically in the last few months.  Brazil's minister of justice has the power to stop this, but so far hasn't bothered.  Logging, mining and ranching means economic growth, and that's what governments the world over care most about.

The Brazilian minister of justice needs to know that people all over the world know about, and care about, the plight of the Awa people, and want him to do the right thing.  Please click on the link and go to the Survival International website, and click on the "A Message Worth Sending" button.

If you care, please take a look at this link  . 
It will tell you what you can do to register your disgust at the way the Brazilian authorities are failing to stop this genocide.


  1. It would certainly change my life if Thorpe woods were built over. Of course I feel for these people but I don't see what it has to do with Thorpe woods and that is what I come to this blog to see - news and info on our woods. Can't this blog be kept for what it's meant for....especially when how much these woods mean to many of us is played down by the author of this blog entry.

  2. Sorry to hear that you find this content so irrelevant and inappropriate. I disagree that I have 'played down' the importance of Thorpe woods. I have actually simply stated a pretty indisputable fact, ie: the destruction of the Awa's forest is quite literally a matter of life and death. Nobody could sensibly claim that the destruction of Thorpe woods would be nearly so tragic.

    Thorpe woods are extremely important to all of us in Friends of Thorpe Woodlands, and to many others besides. This blog is visited by large nummbers of people, many of whom are already aware of the issues surrounding Thorpe woods and wish to keep informed, while others visit because they are interested in nature conservation, woodlands and forests in general. It seems reasonable to assume that many people in both groups are interested in forest-related issues beyond their own neighbourhoods and will be concerned to learn about this dire and urgent threat to the Awa. If just a few people take the trouble to click on the Survival International link and sign the petition, it will have done some good.

    Doing so in no way implies any kind of choice between which campaign to support - it should go without saying that it is perfectly possible to support both the Awa people and the Thorpe woodlands. From personal feedback I know that several FTW supporters have already been glad to sign the Awa petition.

    We published a piece on 19th August 2011 entitled: "Petition to save Amazon from law change danger" which, as the title suggests, had nothing to do with Thorpe woods. Several people welcomed this, took the action requested and sent links to their friends. It costs FTW nothing to extend a little support and solidarity to other campaigns such as these.

    Publishing items on other important forest-related matters adds interest to the blog. It also draws attention to the fact that our own struggle to save our woods is connected to much graver struggles against similarly profit-driven forces that threaten forests the world over. It also highlights the fact that we are not merely 'nimbys' who care only about 'our' woods as handy places to walk the dog. I see no harm in this, and make no apology.

    If anyone visiting the FTW blog is offended by such content to the point where they decide not to bother any more, all I can say is that they can't have been very interested in saving Thorpe woods in the first place.

  3. Hi,we have loved thorpe woods for years. My kids have grown up walking around it and it is a great green space for us and the wildlife that lives there. The current plans to build over them are based on greed and must be stopped. I agree that the plight of the rainforest people in Brazil and the loss of their home is terrible but to me and my famiy saving Thorpe woods is in its little way every bit as important and the loss of them would certainly change our lives for the worse. Please keep up the campaign to save these wonderful woods they mean the world to us

  4. Don't worry - everyone involved in the campaign to save Thorpe woodlands will keep at it until the woods are safe. Keep watching this blog for news, and encourage others to get involved.

  5. I think the occasional article about other campaigns to save other woodlands is quite acceptible, and you have a good balance of articles as at least 99% of your articles are about Thorpe woods. Saving our local woodlands is something we can all act to do, and I don't see any conflict in also knowing about the occasional campaign to save other woodlands and forests, and am glad you brought the Awa peoples' plight to my attention. I've signed the petition and hope that my small contribution will help those fighting to save the Awa people and their forests, and that my reading this blog and acting where I can will also help to save Thorpe woods. Keep up the excellent work John and friends!

  6. Saving Thorpe Woods & any green space is as important as saving the Rainforest - it's all part of the same thing 'oak trees from little acorns grow' - get people interested in local issues and this will raise awarenes of global issues & encourage people to think for themselves and realise that it is possible to change things. The Rainforest & Thorpe Woods are the same thing - greedy developers interested in short term monetary gain at the expense of the local people and environment, once these places have gone you can't get them back...