Saturday, September 1, 2007


A nation's infrastructure is only as good as the roads. Roads appear as people populate areas and a need to get to and fro creates demand, then a path forward. A road replaces what existed already, so any road in the middle of a fragile ecosystem affecting the entire planet is a cause for concern and alarm. Certain roads in Brazil are making a mockery of the environment.
"We're cut off from the rest of the world, and that's the truth," Costa said recently

outside his house. "It's like how people lived 50 years ago. We don't have electricity. Sometimes, we don't have a road. We've been forgotten."

Costa and thousands of other Amazon residents would like to see the government finish paving the 1,100-mile road, known as Highway BR-163. The Brazilian government has been promising to do so for more than 30 years.

Yet others oppose paving the more than 500 miles of BR-163 that are unfinished. They fear that a reliable road would spark a land rush and lead to the destruction of more of Brazil's environmentally sensitive rain forest.

The debate symbolizes the dilemma facing Brazilian Amazonia, as the zeal for economic development in the region butts up against worries that the world's largest rain forest is rapidly disappearing. (Picture courtesy Jack Chang/McClatchy Newspapers)

Soybeans for US Conglomerate, Cargill are driving the development in part. They need to get to market so profits can be made. Capitalists argue that everyone should have an economic development opportunity to take part in the market without fully acknowledging longterm environmental degradation happens as part of unrestrained capitalism. In less than thirty seven years, Brazil has cleared or deforested an area the size of Texas.

For under ten dollars, Ziporah Hildebrandt has a paperback offering support and rationales for protection of Brazil's environment. She authored the book, Marina Silva: Defending Rainforest Communities in Brazil. It is part of the Women Saving the World series.

Last Forest: Amazon in the Age of Globalization by Mark London and Brian Kelly is a must read look at Earth's disappearing treasure that is the Amazon.
Kirkus Reviews...Authors note that the TransPacific Highway and other new roads will bring still more change, since most deforestation occurs near roads. Any effort to "save" the species-rich Amazon, they conclude, must now take into account human populations. An incisive, information-packed update on man and nature in our greatest rainforest.

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