Friday, January 25, 2008

The Amazing Shrinking Amazon Forest

Imminent is an area the size of France will be devoid of valuable trees, further ruining the ecosystem in the Amazon with just one of the consequences leading to more wild and violent weather in the decades ahead. By 2030 will anything be left to champion or shall the mighty Amazon region become the barren landscape we all so richly deserve? The oh-my-we-are-hapless-bureaucrats in Brazil, decided in the wake of world condemnation to announce an official effort to stop the clear cutting by sending out a press release on their economic sanctions and mentioning a pending military engagement. Er, what took so long - pretty sure anybody over the age of three with the gift of one working eyeball could tell that half of Mato Gr0sso no longer had trees. Instead, the blinded world needed the aid of a space satellite to beam back pictures showing a gaping forest hole of 1, 280 square miles before alarm bells went off. (EPA Photo)

The situation may also be worse than reported, with the environment ministry saying the preliminary assessment of the amount of forest cleared could double as more detailed satellite images are analysed.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is due to attend an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss new measures to tackle deforestation in the Amazon.

The latest figures will be an embarrassment for the Brazilian president, says the BBC's Americas editor, Warren Bull.

The high price of corn and other cash crops like soy plus beef is fueling the need for farming and grazing land. What mass short term critical thinking from Brazil as they attempt to get their too costly share of the biofuel market right now while mortgaging the future of the nation and the world. Reaping immediate economic benefits for so few versus planning for longterm survivability of everyone, was the absolutely known trade off since last century's reports on the devastation of deforestation in the Amazon region. Rich and long dead are the exploitative capitalists, before the effects are visited upon their surviving beloved grandchildren who are not swept out to sea in a surfeit of flash floods, blown about in tropical storms, suffering severe droughts or poisoned water supplies from Ecoli and other water borne diseases brought about to pad someone's bank accounts including cash strapped governments.

According to the Agriculture Minister Reinhold Stephanes, there’s no need for deforestation as there is plenty of land for farming and cattle.

He said: "It's not necessary to cut a single tree to produce soy or raise cattle. There's plenty of land outside of the Amazon to increase the production of soy and beef." (old photo)

What makes this a true travesty is that for the last ten years much of the science and analysis around deforestation, climate change and global warming focused on the Amazon and the consequences of this continuing to happen. Its as if the last tree in the forest fell crashed to the ground, spontaneously combusted into a megaton mushroom cloud and no one noticed.
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed is a must read at least five times book by Jared Diamond that details the end of civilizations and what the preceding causes look like before the annihilation. Imagine being the person on Easter Island who chopped down the last tree when trees were necessary to preserve a way of life or even to survive. A prescient 2007 book release delineating the Amazon deforestation devastation is also in this post.

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