Thursday, May 15, 2008

A New Wild West?

Yesterday, in Brasilia, Brazil's capitol, Marina Silva, Minister of the Environment, resigned. She had worked for Lula's PT (Worker's Party) for over five years, but had battled recently with senior aides, as well as governor's of some of the most controversial states in the battle between agrobusiness interests and Amazon rainforest protection. While not exactly saying that she felt stepped-on, she did say that this time, unlike in the past, her decision was permanent. As Folha de S. Paulo noted, this is seen as a victory for the soy and ranching business, and especially the governor of Mato Grosso, who has called for an increase in deforestation, as a solution for the inflation of food prices. Silva, an ardent advocate for the different tribes in the area, as well as increased protection and penalties against illegal lumbering, was publicly at odds with the governor, one of the most powerful in Brazil.

BBC, as I just read in Folha de S. Paulo, is on top of things in the Amazon, as well as Indonesia, another literal hotspot for the burning and destruction of rainforests worldwide. The photo attached to this post is from yesterday's issue of BBC online, and shows the drastic demarkation between farmland (mainly soy) and the Amazon, in the state of Mato Grosso. This report, combined with the numerous reports both nationally and internationally regarding the acquittal of Bida, accused of ordering the death of Dorothy Stang, who tirelessly defended natives and the rainforest in the state of Para, has put the focus back on what has become today's Wild West, and one of the most important battlegrounds in the fight to control climate change while feeding a world increasingly dependent on Brazil for food. Numerous reports here in Brazilian periodicals have noted that areas with high levels of illegal lumbering also have the highest numbers of homicide per capita. With the aforementioned acquittal of a powerful farmer in the death of Stang, many fear that it is open season on dissidents an voices for the Amazon.

To check out the fascinating slideshow on BBC, complete with shocking captions and stories about those who make up the Amazon reality today, go to:

Do not miss this revealing and disturbing look at one of the most important places in the world.

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