BUENOS AIRES – Greenpeace’s Esperanza sails along the coast on a mission to “protect and promote” legislation safeguarding Argentina’s forests and stop the widespread deforestation now associated with the extensive flooding in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Daniel Rizzotti, who has spent more than 20 years with Greenpeace, is captain of the ship, the largest in the environmental group’s fleet.
He is also coordinator of this journey aimed at calling attention to the “forest emergency” in Argentina with the assistance of 19 sailors, engineers and volunteers.
The only requirement to join the adventure is “to be endowed with that little bit of craziness to keep achieving environmental goals,” the 49-year-old Rizzotti told EFE.
Greenpeace activists are used to going around the world and know that Argentina is one of the nine countries with the highest rate of native forest destruction each year.
This fact prompted them to sail along the country’s coast from south to north to raise awareness among the public.
Rizzotto said that although Argentina has had a forest protection law since 2007, continuing lack of enforcement has allowed businesses to raze forests to expand soy farms and cattle ranches.
The Esperanza’s skipper said the extensive loss of forests was directly associated with the deadly floods affecting Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay in recent weeks.
“This is something that not only Greenpace is saying, other researchers have said it too,” Rizzotto said.
The crew is aware that the Esperanza is far from northern Argentina, the region most affected by widespread logging, but they say the campaign waged from their “floating embassy is more important now than ever.”
Victoria Gonzalez, an Argentine volunteer who has spent two months aboard the Esperanza, is one of the spokespersons who explain Argentina’s serious forest emergency to visitors.