Have you ever taken a photo with the “Iamsterdam” sign? You’re probably not that special given it is one of the most photographed icons in the Netherlands.
However, did you manage to snag a photo of the “Iamazonia” sign? That might be worthy of an Instagram post..
The Iamsterdam tourist attraction stood in front of the famous Rijksmuseum and was removed on 3 December 2018 after an initiative was launched by the City of Amsterdam to quell tourism in the capital.
Yesterday, the sign came back with a vengeance. Greenpeace erected a “Iamazonia” sign to draw attention to the destruction of the Amazon forest as part of the “All eyes on the Amazon” project.
The demonstration called attention to the catastrophic impacts of deforestation on climate change and the irreversible damage it has on the indigenous communities living in the Amazon rainforest.
Why is the Amazon rainforest being destroyed?
The Amazon rainforest is being felled at an alarming rate. This began in 1960 when the Brazilian government created roads leading through the rainforest to integrate the rainforest into civilisation. From 2017 to 2018 just under 8000 square kilometres of forest was cleared in the Amazon. That equates to roughly 987,500 soccer fields.
Vast areas are cleared to grow soy, beef, palm oil, timber and other commodities in high demand. Frances Seymour at the World Resources Institute says “Much of this clearing is illegal and linked to corruption.”
Danicley de Aguiar, the Senior forest campaigner at Greenpeace Brazil, commented “Brazilians welcome the solidarity from Amsterdam and Europe: I too am Amsterdam. We are all Amazonia, and I hope people and leaders all over the world will reflect upon the possibility of losing what they hold dearest and take urgent action.”
Unlike the Iamsterdam sign, which can be taken down with little more than public outcry, the Amazon rainforest is a landmark that can’t afford to be lost.