It's Pantanal Day, it's time to remember Francelmo
“Francelmo, the last hero of Brazil.”Thus ends the farewell letter written by the poet Manoel de Barros to Francisco Anselmo de Barros, an environmentalist who dedicated himself for 30 years to the struggle for the Pantanal preservation.
In an extreme protest against the threats facing the Pantanal at that time, a bill provided for the establishment of alcohol and sugar plants in the Pantanal, Francelmo set fire on his own body. He took his life to save the Pantanal. This episode took place on November 12, 2005. And was marked as the Pantanal Day.
Francelmo's life trajectory was linked to the defense of the environment, having developed several activities, among which he chaired the Foundation for Conservation of Nature in Mato Grosso do Sul and was a founding member of the National Councilor for the Environment (Conama).
It is urgent to remember Francelmo
In 2019 fire in the Pantanal reached unprecedented proportions, a 97% increase in the number of heat spots compared to the average of the last 10 years. The scenario is one of devastation.
This year's burning forms a line that goes beyond 50 km. Something never seen by the old Pantanal inhabitants. WWF-Brazil studies shows that the total area burned exceeds one million hectares.
The society has barely been able to recover from the shock and damage caused by the catastrophic burns, and now the Brazilian government, through Decree No. 10,084, not only allows the sugarcane chain to settle in the Pantanal, but also in the Amazon.
Francelmo's Day, Pantanal Day
Pantanal Day is a day to honor this national heritage, but it is also a day of struggle.
Here are farewell words from Francelmo himself:
"It was difficult to make that decision. My life has always been a priesthood in defense of nature. It is our home and God's greatest gift. If he gave his life for us, I am giving my life for him, defending the future of our children. [...] Keep fighting for me ".
It's time to remember Francelmo, it's time to fight!