The Amazon Debate Rages On

Once again the Amazon Rain Forest is under threat, and it looks like the greedy Brazilian farmers will not be satisfied until its all gone. One month ago the government approved a bill that will undoubtedly see more huge swathes of this mighty forest disappear for ever. The losers will be the whole of mankind in years to come.

Yes Dear! Soon You Will Have To Look Hard To See The Trees!

The only person who could stop this wholesale destruction has ‘chickened out’, for despite calls from environmental groups world-wide and an international petition signed by almost two million people, the Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff has failed to veto the entire package. Instead she has opted for vetoing only 12 points of the bill which she says will preserve the ‘protected’ areas of the forest. Most of the forest had been ‘protected’ for decades but it hasn’t stopped farmers and illegal loggers from destroying huge areas of this beating heart of the planet.

One item that the President vetoed is an amnesty for illegal logger farmers ‘provided they plant more trees on their cleared land by 2020’. If that isn’t a prime example of a waste of time I don’t know what is. Does this silly woman and her inept government really think these people will start planting trees again just because they say so? And by 2020? It’s too ridiculous for words. I am sure if we examine the situation in that year we won’t see a single planted tree!

From 1978 to 1989 an estimated total of 1.98 million ha yr−1 were lost, a figure that declined to 1.38 million ha yr−1   between 1990 and 1994. However, the total  rose again between 1995 and 2000 to 1.90 million ha yr−1. Brazilian government calculations show that in the 12 months ending in August 2004, a total of 10,088 square miles of rain forest were destroyed.

The Graph Tells It All.

It should not be forgotten that this same devastation is taking places in the other rain forest belts across the globe like Indonesia, Thailand and  Africa etc.

How The Rain Forest Generates Weather

A simple comparison of weather data from 1980 to the present day shows significant changes in world weather patterns which of course we are all aware of, but does it change the attitude of countries like Brazil etc. towards their rain forests? Not a jot, for as usual greed over-rides everything.

Not many people know that the volume of freshwater that flows into the Atlantic Ocean from the Amazon River is so great that water samples taken 200 miles from the mouth of the river show greatly reduced levels of salinity in the sea, such is the power and volume of the Amazon freshwater as it enters the ocean. However, if we cut down the forest and the rains continue to dry up, the river will become a shadow of its former self. In turn, this will see more devastating changes in weather patterns for the Caribbean and Northern Atlantic countries.

And When It’s All Gone? What Then?

The really sad thing is, massive tracts of rich tropical forest vegetation is being burnt to the ground during the clearance procedure in order for farmers to plant crops of soya and the like, but clearing away the forest is resulting in the major loss of rain in these areas and the cleared ground rapidly loses its ability to sustain crops necessitating more ground clearance. In this way its a never ending cycle of destruction.

Roads Increasing The Destruction Rate

Yet another nail in the coffin of the Amazon is a government plan to build roads across this vast region. There can be little doubt this increased access to the heart of the forest will speed up the destruction to an extent never seen before. I really do despair at mankind sometimes, their stupidity and greed are mind-boggling to say the least.

This year the Amazon area is suffering its first major drought because so much forest has been cleared there is insufficient rainfall. If this trend continues, and it may well do, it could be catastrophic and do significant harm to the whole economy of Brazil, and by rote, the whole planet. but no-one seems to notice. There are currently too many people who live for today and to hell with tomorrow.

It’s OK for people like me to sound the alarm but if no-one listens what’s the point. Humans have become so self-centred these days, few stop to think about the harm they are doing to the future of the planet, and for all the lives of their children. Ask many people what they think of world rain forest destruction and they may say “Oh That’s Greenpeace’s job isn’t it?”, or they have no idea what you are on about. Ask these same individuals why they find it necessary to have three or four cars in the family and the lame reply is “Well, we need them”. Yea! Right!

Believe it or not, I am not a ‘doom and gloom’ character by nature and usually have a very positive attitude towards life, but this rape of our planet and the massive effect it will have on future generations is something I just cannot ignore, unlike most people these days. I do care about what sort of world my children will grow old in, and I do care about the continuance of the human species on this planet. We humans have achieved so much and have as yet boundless possibilities in what we can do, if only we can get over this period in our evolution where we seem determined to self-destruct.

It is possible that many people will agree with the sentiments I put forward here and ask themselves “What can I do about it?”. As we go about our daily lives its hard to imagine we could have any influence on world rain forest destruction, but sometimes making minor changes to the way we live, or just spreading the word and writing to your MP demanding international action on the issue would be of some help if sufficient people do it. I am convinced that saving the rain forests will only come about by international pressure on countries like Brazil and Indonesia etc. For we can be sure that the  governments of the nations concerned are not willing to take any positive steps themselves which is a shame.

Ah Well! Like most of the older generation, I am sure it won’t affect me, but I hope the rest of humanity wakes up before its too late, for anything less would be tragic.

Roy.

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