Monday, July 25, 2011

The Amazon Rainforest: Brazil's Wild West

I'm extremely worried about the Amazon Rainforest. It's such a cliche, I know. The little American blogger living in Rio de Janeiro is so worried about the Amazon Rainforest that she's blogging her feelings about it. Big freaking deal. So what if I am concerned. So what if living in Brazil has given me a view of the true extend of the destruction, the extent people will go to in order to continuing destroying it, and the utter lack of control the government has over it.

The thing is, it's all kinds of scary shit up there. Going into Amazon Rainforest activism isn't like cuddling with orphaned pandas. You are going up against a cracked out Western type place with very evil sheriffs and highly corrupt cowboys.

And you know all that stuff we learned in our sheltered American city high schools about how we really must save the Amazon now? They were being light about the situation. We needed to save it yesterday. Actually, we needed to save it in the 80s.

Farmers of all kinds are taking the Amazon out like a hairy teenager waxes her back. There's no hesitation and very little interference by responsible parties.

Thankfully the government of Brazil is putting limits and protecting this irreplaceable Rainforest. Of course that doesn't count when they are making money off of it or not enforcing the laws at all. Let's not even go into the murders of the people who make it their mission to protect this sacred place and the people it truly belongs to.

Alright, let's do go into that. Amazon Rainforest Activists are murdered in cold blood. Their murderers run free. Their deaths are left as a warning to other big-hearted people who may think about coming and challenging the mafia of the Amazon.

But the truth is that the Amazon Rainforest is the wild west of Brazil. It is immense and difficult to patrol. For a country that struggles with blatant crime and corruption in it's capital and biggest cities, the Amazon is almost out of reach. To protect this international treasure Brazil needs the help of Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. You try organizing that tea party!

Regardless, innocent people have been murdered there, I don't care if it is the wild west! This wild west happens to be in a country that is developed enough to not only host the World Cup but also the Olympics. Do not let those activists die in vain!

And if the US government is all about helping patrol the world, why not pull out of the freaking wars and send the troops down here. Put them in the Amazon. Fight for it as you do oil. If we are going to preach saving it in our schools, shouldn't we at least do our part? 


  1. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said, and it's super important that we do something NOW!

    I am also concerned about the fragmented Mata Alantica. There is a huge project that I donate to all the time to reforest millions of acres that were deforested. If you want to, check it out!

    PS: I'm no spammer!

  2. Amen!


    I agree that the Amazon is Brazil's wild west, however, I am hopeful with the new president. The Amazon has the best fighting chance in recent history.
    Unfortunately, I don't see momentum in the US for anything to be done regarding the Amazon. We are too tangled up in our own political/debt/economic mess right now.
    Brazil will have to fight this one on it's own for a while.
    I think the best weapon we have right now is to talk about it and to put pressure on Brazilian politicians, this is the only way they will do something to protect the future of the Amazon.


  3. Rachel-
    Thanks for the post. I'm living in that wild, wild west! We actually own a farm here, but we are totally legal ad have the right percentage of the land untouched (maybemore).

    Here's what happened in my third week in Brazil! My husband was out at the farm- I was pretty scared.

    But there is a lot more to this Rainforest story. There are (uneducated) people here who make their living with logging. They need alternatives. In the 80's, if you owned a farm you were REQUIRED to clear it.

    4 years ago, the government came to my brother-in-law and told him if he would leave his farm, they would fairly compensate him. He left. Guess what? The gov't said thank you very much and told Brazil as well as the international community that all the land owners in the area 'just left.'

    There was no compensation (for a man with 3 years of education, a wife with 1 year of schooling. and 4 children.) To this day, he is still a mess financially.

    IBAMA was all over town, seizing chainsaws and loads of wood.

    This is a complicated problem, and solutions must consider these complications. The people living and working here need alternatives.

    My sister has been doing 'save the rainforest' fundraising for 25 years. I suggested to her that she could do better to fundraise for job training programs for loggers or lobby businesses to get a factory here.


  4. Jennifer, that is a great point and a great idea! Educating the people! That is a problem in all of Brazil. People need options, education and the support of their government.

    I'm not surprised by your post or comment. Mr. Rant constantly tells me that I couldn't even begin to get the complexity of the fucked up-ness of the situation. The loggers, the government, the lack of opportunities, etc etc.

  5. Alex I know you aren't a spammer!

  6. Yes, it's very complex. Sigh. I just had no idea it would be in MY family. My bro-in-law has had malaria 22 times....he's always out of $$$ for the meds. Which has kept him from working. Which has then made him poorer....Sheesh