Some TCD Housekeeping, Lula Appoints New Climate Minister, Climate Champ–Marina Silva

by | Jan 9, 2023 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Some TCD housekeeping, plus Lula appoints new climate minister, and climate champion, Marina Silva!



Hey, just want to do a little housekeeping real quickly here on The Climate Daily. Last week we did a story on the fabulous climate champion Adam Dieme, who’s working to plant five million trees in the next five years using the agroforestry method in his native Senegal. My good friend  and  longtime listener Donney hipped us to Mr. Dieme. We always try to give a shout out to our listeners when they send us great stories. And I forgot to give Donney his props. Sorry LDL3. Please accept my apologies.

Also a bunch of you DM’ed us about how we so casually slipped in it was our 502nd episode last Tuesday. And why we chose to mention the 502nd, not the 500th.  Here’s the thing. Anybody can get to 500 episodes. 500. Nice round number. But not everybody can get to 502. That’s why, despite what iTunes says. One it’s off by one episode and we haven’t yet figured out why, and TWO, I was way off. I just checked. iTunes says we’re on #514, so that means this is actually our 515th episode!

Oh, and just one more thing—in case you missed it, now 20-year old Greta Thunberg takes no prisoners. On December 28, scorched Andrew Tate, a kickboxer who had bragged about the “enormous emissions” of his 33 sports cars and requested her email address so he could send details. “yes, please do enlighten me,” Thunberg replied, “email me at”

DEEPER DIVE: Greta Tweet



Marking a sharp departure from the outgoing government, Brazil’s new President  Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva promised to tackle deforestation, which reached record highs under the Jair Bolsonaro administration. So, Just prior to his January 1 inauguration, President Da Silva appointed Marina Silva, an advocate against Amazon deforestation, who will join the cabinet as environment minister. Silva told the news network Globo TV shortly after the announcement that the name of the ministry she will lead will be changed to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. 

Many agribusiness players and associated lawmakers resent Silva. That stems from her time as environment minister during most of Lula’s prior presidency, from 2003 to 2010. Lula and Silva have promised to make the protection of the Amazon rainforest a priority, even if it means clashing with Brazil’s powerful agribusiness sector. Under the tenure of far-right President Bolsonaro, deforestation reached record highs.

Silva was born in the Amazon and worked as a rubber tapper as an adolescent. As environment minister she oversaw the creation of dozens of conservation areas and a sophisticated strategy against deforestation, with major operations against environmental criminals and new satellite surveillance. She also helped design the largest international effort to preserve the rainforest, the mostly Norway-backed Amazon Fund. Deforestation dropped dramatically.

During the United Nations Climate Change Conference, aka COP27, in Egypt, which she attended alongside Lula, Silva said, “Brazil will return to the protagonist role it previously had when it comes to climate, to biodiversity.” Why does Silva’s appointment matter to us? Because PresidentLula promised “zero deforestation” in the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest and a key to fighting climate change, by 2030. He said “There will be no climate security if the Amazon isn’t protected.” And Silva aims to meet that goal.

DEEPER DIVE: AP, Al Jazeera, Herald-Standard



So who is Brazil’s new Minister of Environment and Climate Change? Marina Silva Silva was born in the Amazon and worked as a rubber tapper as an adolescent. Orphaned at age 16, young Marina moved to the state capital, Rio Branco, to study and receive treatment for hepatitis. She was taken in by nuns in a convent and received a Catholic education. There, she became the first person in her family to learn to read and write. After leaving the convent, she went to work as a housemaid in exchange for lodging. She completed her undergraduate degree in history from the Federal University of Acre at 26 and became increasingly politically active. In 1984 Silva helped create Acre’s first workers’ union. 

She led demonstrations called empates with Chico Mendes to warn against deforestation and the outplacement of forest communities from their traditional locations. Silva is the founder and former spokeswoman for the Sustainability Network Party (REDE). In 1994, Silva was the first rubber tapper ever elected to the Federal Senate. As a native Amazonian and a senator, she built support for environmental protection of the reserves as well as for social justice and sustainable development in the Amazon region

Previously, Silva served as Minister of the Environment from 2003 to 2008. During that time, deforestation decreased by 59% from 2004 to 2007, during which she implemented an integrated government policy. It simultaneously fostered sustainable development, favored territorial zoning, and attached greater value to standing forests. It also incorporated elements from international conventions and documents.[20] “All of this demonstrates that, when there is integrated planning and effort, it is truly possible to change the picture,” Silva said in a statement to the Embassy of Brazil in London. 

Silva has won a number of awards from US and international organizations in recognition of her environmental activism. In 1996, Silva won the Goldman Environmental Prize for South & Central America. In 2007, the United Nations Environment Program named her one of the Champions of the Earth and the 2009 Sophie Prize.

DEEPER DIVE: Goldman Environmental Prize, UNEP, Sophie Prize