Deforestation in Brazil: Cutting down on cutting down

Hooray! Brazil has supposedly implemented a plan that will cut down on deforestation of the Amazons. This plan will purportedly reduce deforestation by 70 percent over the course of 10 years. With just one look at the rate of deforestation in this country, we can see how this plan is about five years too late, but it’s better late than never.

The world as we know it is rapidly changing and the things we see in ten years will no longer be as we see them today. That is certain, but what isn’t is what will become of those precious natural gems such as South America’s Amazon region — a majority of which is located in Brazil.According to most environmentally conscious individuals, the rate of deforestation in Brazil appears to correlate directly with the economic health of the country. In times of rapid growth, Brazil’s Amazon region suffers; and when its economy is struggling, the region thrives.

That is only part of the picture, however. The rest of the puzzle has to do with what Time Magazine calls “The Clean Energy Scam.” Farmers interested in entering the clean energy market are turning the Amazon rainforest into soybean fields. These fields will later be converted into biofuel — a “green” product, yes, but one that is not “green” for the environment. In fact, the “savannization” of the Amazons is downright destructive and anti-environment.

While I really hope Brazil gets its act together to correct its anti-environment policies, I am doubtful that they can follow through with this deforestation plan. Of course, I do hope I’m proven wrong. In ten years, I would still like to see the Brazilian Amazon — not a Brazilian soybean field in its place.

What can we do to see that this new plan remains in tact? Brazil’s Environment Minister, Carlos Minc, says the Amazon Fund, an initiative implemented earlier this year to gather funds for the preservation of the country’s Amazon region, must be a top priority. Brazil hopes to begin using the Fund’s money next year.