Jose Lutzenberger

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Jose Lutzenberger (died in 2002) wiki

"José Lutzenberger, born in 1926, was a Brazilian agronomist who worked for 15 years with a multinational chemical corporation, but left in 1970 to start a vigorous and successful campaign against pesticides and for organic farming. What followed was great progress in Brazil among farmers large and small concerning organic crop management; increasing numbers of them began to use less poisons and turned to more regenerative methods of production. Lutzenberger's work in this field made him an acknowledged expert on soil science and organic fertilisers as well as plant health. Agriculture, however, was only one of his concerns: he is also widely known in Brazil as the father of the environmental movement.

"As an agronomist, interested in healthy, clean, sustainable agriculture, Lutzenberger went into sanitary engineering. He also got involved in recycling, being conscious that hundreds of millions of hectares of good agricultural land were being degraded by the destruction of humus and soil life, while on the other hand, in industry, hundreds of millions of tons of precious organic wastes were being destroyed by dumping, contamination or burning. He developed simple, alternative methods for re-use - either as fodder or fertiliser - of the wastes of many industries such as pulp mills, tanneries, slaughterhouses and food processing plants. He also worked in landscaping and gardening.

"Lutzenberger's activities in Brazil were combined with a gruelling international speaking schedule that took him regularly to many countries on all continents.

"From 1990 to '92 he was Special Secretary for the Environment to the President of Brazil. In this post he was instrumental in the demarcation of Indian territories, especially the land of the Yanomamis, as well as in the decision to abandon the atom bomb and in Brazil's signing of the Antarctic Treaty and the Whale Convention. One of Lutzenberger's main concerns was the preservation of the tropical rainforest of Amazonia as well as other important elements of the biosphere.

"In 1995 he received an honorary doctorate from BOKU (Universität für Bodenkultur) at the University of Vienna, Austria, for his scientific work and his cooperation with Austrian farmers." [1]

"At first Mr. Lutzenberger and Agapan, the environmental group he founded in 1971, concerned themselves primarily with issues near at hand, like the pollution of local rivers. But with the publication in 1976 of his book The End of the Future: A Brazilian Ecological Manifesto, his focus gradually shifted to broader national causes, in particular that of the Amazon, the world's largest tropical rain forest.

"In 1987 Mr. Lutzenberger founded a group called Gaia, which focused on global issues, and a year later he won the Right Livelihood Award (sometimes called the Alternative Nobel) in recognition of his work. But it was his appointment as secretary of the environment in 1990 that made him an international figure." [2]

"Lutz played a major role in opposing the Polonoroeste Project, the financing by the World Bank of a mayor road through the Amazon forest. He took his fight to the US Congress as this project was detrimental to the biodiversity of the rainforests, the rubber tappers and the Indians, their knowledge and culture. The Project was stopped but hundreds of thousands of square miles of forest were destroyed. He was also instrumental in the recognition and protection of the land of the Yanomami Indians by the Brazilian government. After a visit to Highgrove, Prince Charles visited the Amazon in 1991 hosting an environmental gathering aboard the Royal Yacht. Lutzenberger resigned from government disgusted by the corruption he encountered." [3]

"A former chemical engineer with BASF, a multinational company, he changed sides to become Brazil's foremost environmental campaigner and was one of the pioneers of Brazil's environmental movement. In 1971 he helped to found Agapan, Brazil's first green non-governmental organisation, and became its president. Lutzenberger was also one of the first to denounce the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. In 1987 he left Agapan to become president of Fundação Gaia in Brazil." [4]

His daughter who continues his work today is Lara Lutzenberger. [1]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Jose Lutzenberger, Right Livelihood Award, accessed November 6, 2009.
  2. José Lutzenberger, Brazilian Environmentalist, Dies at 75, NYT, accessed November 6, 2009.
  3. Board, Foundation for Gaia, accessed November 6, 2009.
  4. About, Foundation for GAIA, accessed October 2, 2011.