Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Amazon is a donna......

Photo: destruction of the Amazon for agriculture

Next time you stumble into a kebab shop after the pub for your chicken donna or, serve up chicken at home for dinner, visualize the wasteland above. Each year an area of the Amazon rainforest equalling the size of Wales or, 20,000 sq. km is razed to the ground. Much of this is for agricultural use and the predominant crop is soyabeans. The main market for these beans is Europe using the port of Liverpool for redistribution. The main end use for the beans is for mixing in as part of chicken feed. Even if you buy organic fed, locally reared chickens you won't escape the fact that your purchase contributes to the destruction of the rainforest.

Last year the Amazon suffered its worst drought on record. Major rivers slowed to a muddy trickle and fish died in their millions. Alarm bells rang throughout the world, as well as in Brazil .....'the Amazon is dieing'. If the Amazon dies so will we as a species. It's that simple. It may take a few generations but it will happen none the less. This is because the Amazon rainforest constitutes half of the world's remaining rainforest cover and serves as a huge sponge soaking up CO2 emissions. This is particularly important as the world continues apace burning up fossil fuels. To do this, as well as speed up the destruction of these carbon sinks is suicidal and plain daft.

The Brazillian Ministry of Environment is seeking international finance in return for protecting the Amazon as an internationally recognized natural asset for the world at large. At the same time they are looking to the world to reduce fossil fuel consumption. It is noted here though that Brazil's main oil company is rapidly investing in overseas oil exploration. These contradictions need to be dealt with by a combined effort from the UNDP and UNEP, protecting rainforests such as the Amazon, its indigenous peoples and funding alternative programmes for wealth creation. More on the Amazon can be found at; .


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