Today, Acre’s sustainable extractive reserves encompass two million hectares of forest managed by the traditional communities that inhabit them. Severe health problems, including contamination with heavy metals, have caused Silva to be hospitalized for long periods of time, but fragile health could not stop her. In 1994, she was the first rubber tapper ever elected to Brazil’s federal senate. As a native Amazonian and a populist senator, Silva built support for environmental protection of the reserves as well as for social justice and sustainable development in the Amazon region.
From 2003 to 2008, Silva served as Brazil’s Minister of the Environment. In October 2010, she ran for president of Brazil and, although she did not win the election, was one of the top three candidates and forced a run-off.
To learn move about Silva’s current work, visit her official website.