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The environmental architect: Tasso Azevedo

The environmental architect: Tasso Azevedo - Biomass
The environmental architect: Tasso Azevedo

Azevedos remembers his first contact with the Amazon experiencing a mix of conflicted feelings.

,,There was this wonder with the exuberance of the forest,’’ ,,full of live and its mega biodiversity, and at the same time a despair, by hearing the disturbing sound of a chainsaw and the cracks of the trees trees falling down, followed by a sort of defeating silence’’

When Azevedo asked if that is legal an farmer answered: ,,No, nobody sees or cares about it and that’s the way we develop land here.’’

Azevedo says, almost 30 years later those sounds and words still echo in his head every time he puts his feet in a forest. For the last three decades he's been working to help people to see what we are doing with the planet and motivating them to act up on that.

Brazil, with over half a billion hectares of forest, plays a key role in the global ecosystem. But deforestation for commodities like timber, soy and beef is threatening this valuable resource. Azevedo's strategy brings together governments, businesses and communities to address climate change and promote sustainable practices.

Tasso Azevedo has a vision: he will create a world where forests flourish while meeting the needs of both people and nature. He has now been working to combat deforestation and climate change for almost 30 years and has developed a number of innovative ideas and strategies to achieve this goal.

In the 1990s, Tasso began his journey by creating sustainable production chains for the Amazon. He founded Imaflora, an organization that developed certification standards for forest and agricultural products. In doing so, he laid the foundation for sustainable forest management and managed to promote a new way of thinking and unite the private sector and civil society.

When Tasso joined the Environment Ministry, he wanted to make a move. He drafted laws regulating forest resources and founded the Brazilian Forest Service. His ideas led to the creation of the Amazon Fund, the world's largest forest conservation fund. Tasso proved that protecting forests is not only environmentally friendly but also economically smart and brought about a change in government.

Tasso's spirit of innovation didn't stop there. In 2010, Azevedo left the government to launch two groundbreaking initiatives: the Greenhouse Gas Emission and Removal Estimating System (SEEG) and the Brazilian Land Use and Land Cover Mapping Project (MapBiomas). These open data platforms provide accurate data on greenhouse gas emissions and land use change, enabling governments, businesses and communities to make smart environmental decisions and drive change.

With an unwavering belief in the power of collaboration, Tasso has inspired a global movement, forging partnerships that transcend national borders. SEEG has been replicated in Peru, India and other countries, and the MapBiomas network has expanded beyond South America.

Tasso Azevedo is a man who has put his love of the forest into action. His initiatives have not only reduced deforestation, but also laid the foundation for a sustainable future. Its legacy spans data platforms, laws and changes in the way people think.

He showed that real change is possible when people from different backgrounds come together and fight together for a better future. At a time when protecting our planet is vital, Tasso gives Azevedo a shining example of respect for the environment and sustainability.

Youtube credits: @skollfoundation


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