On air on Amazon Day: Does each country have sole responsibility for its natural resources?

Burned area of forest in Para (2006 file photo)The Amazon Paradox is the struggle between the needs of local people to exploit the rainforest and the global need to preserve its unique nature and resources for the whole world.

So who should have the most say in managing the Amazon rainforest? The people who live there? The Brazilian government? The international community? Individuals all over the world?

To answer those questions, we’ll spend a day – May 15 – visiting a frontier town where the vast soya fields of Matto Grosso state meet the forest; joining a police operation to stop illegal logging in Para state; and exloring the biggest city in the region – Manaus – in the heart of pristine rainforest.

Harvesting rubber at a plantation in XapuriAlthough this is an environmental issue, we don’t want to hear from environmentalists as much as from people living and working in the Amazon. The Amazon region, besides being at the heart of the debate on global warming, produces much of Brazil’s biggest soya and beef exports, so we’ll talk to the so-called “king of soya” and spend time with a cattle rancher.

Did you know…

  • Only 10% of animals species in the Amazon species are known.
  • There are 2000 kinds of fish in the Amazon basin 10 times more than in all of Europe.
  • On a single tree were found 95 types of ants, only 10 less than in the whole of Germany.
  • The Brazilian Amazon provides more timber than any other tropical forest on our planet.
  • Some things to think about: As Brazil’s Rain Forest Burns Down, Planet Heats Up…; Is demand for sugar driving more destruction in the Amazon?; Can globalising the Amazon save it?; and Can cattle ranchers and soy farmers save the Amazon?

    So, what comes first – growing food or keeping forests? Can environmentalism and economic development go together? Who should protect forests around the world local people or the world?

    And, if you don’t have the answers, perhaps you have the questions – do you want to ask our quests in the Amazon anything? Who would you like to talk to? Let us know.

    110 Responses to “On air on Amazon Day: Does each country have sole responsibility for its natural resources?”

    1. 1 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
      May 7, 2008 at 21:25

      Hi Ros,

      I am especially interested in this discussion especially because of my own experiences in terms of the links between sustainable development and the need for environmental protection. I am not so sure if the rest of the world has the right to, necessarilly, say to what use the Amazon should be put, as it falls within the jurisdiction of a particular country.

      What is needed is important information to be filtered into the process of decision making and a consequent empowerment of the institutions of civil society with greater enforcement capabilities on the part of the Government regulatory framework. That way, there is a greater balance achieved between the rainforest/ environment and the actual resource itself. Hardly much point, I think, in having the rainforest if we learn nothing from it. There should be ongoing and systematic studies of the resources within the forest, both at at a taxonomical levels as well as for scientific (in terms of medical and other uses) research.

    2. 2 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
      May 7, 2008 at 21:35

      Hi Ros & WHYS team!

      Great topic for discussion!

      I think that the issue here is more a question of the sustainable management of the resources within the rainforest alongside the real demands of the Brazilian Government/ people. This is a clear question of the empowerment of the institutions of civil society in Brazil as a way of strengthening the government’s capacity to actively regulate and enforce environmental laws/ breaches in that part of the world. The world can help by ensuring that elected officials and other members of civil society and lobby groups are in reciept of the most critical information needed to aid in the decision making processes regarding the proper management of the forest. This has to also take into account those who make their livelihoods from the forest – for better or worse.

      There is also an urgent need for ongoing and systematic taxanomical and scientific research work which have the combined benefits of raising awareness of what exactly is contained within the boundaries of the forest as well as the likely uses in terms of pharmaceutical and economic benefits to the community. And, by economic I am not just referring to removing all or parts of the forest but also as eco-tourism resource for posterity.

    3. 3 John Smith - Jamaica
      May 7, 2008 at 21:55

      Let’s look at the dilemma
      1. Local people: The need to survive is going to be stronger than the desire to save the world. Realistically, can we expect these people to remain underdeveloped whilst eh world passes them by.
      2. The Brazilian government may be inclined to take on this issue, but purely for political reasons. The current argument is that the rest of the world should pay for the preservation of the forest. My question is, how do we price the value of this region and who will benefit from the funds gathered? Surely not the people of the region, but central government which has continued to neglect the people of the region.
      3. The international community has never rallied behind a major cause for the simple reason that there is always arguments about who should contribute more and how should contributions be decided (per capita..etc.)
      4. Individuals: Many hands without any clear direction can never be a good thing. How can individuals effectively achieve unity in preserving the forest, when each does so for their own particular interests. No clear approach would be possible and all would be lost in the haphazard management.

      I am become more of a realist in recognising the fact that we continually try to hold on to the past. In the last 30 to 40 years, the face of the world has changed…we couldn’t stop the change then and we can’t stop the change now. Not without some radical clear thinking strategy which requires a unified approach from all stakeholders in the immediate.

    4. 4 Mary Gravitt
      May 8, 2008 at 00:16

      The Rain Forest is a Global concerned because it controls the weather in the Western Hemisphere. All that is need is regional drought to finish off the food supply. For example look what has happen in Australia due to drought.

      Climate change will affect everyone in the world as it seems to be doing at present only worse. For example not even Europe will be safe. A friend tells me that the climate of Britain will be like the US state of Alaska. Thereby its people may have to move away to possible Africa to be safe.

      The world is connected by systems of weather that depends on the Rain Forest that we have not yet even imagined.

    5. 5 Tom
      May 8, 2008 at 03:08

      National soverignty is the greatest obstacle against tackling of global issues. If Brazil needs to clear its forest in order to improve the livelihood of its 180+ million people, what moral rights is there for a rich country to tell them otherwise?

      Similarly, how could countries like the Austraila and the US convince developing countries like India and China to cut their carbon outputs when their per capita outputs and consumptions are miniscule in comparison to these countries?

      Indeed, how could a rich importing country ask a developing exporting country to protect its environment, when the exporting country produces goods for the excessive consumption of the rich? Afterall, people in these rich countries are breathing fresh air probably because all their manufacturing jobs have been offshored to the developing countries.

      In essence, how could one demand China, the “factory of the world”, to cut carbon emission when they produce much of the goods the world needs?

      The reality is that wealth is not distributed equally throughout the world. The rich is protective of where they are, while the poor always want to catch up to where the rich is. How could this disparity be evened out without costing Mother Earth?

      Some dilemmatic questions to ponder here.

    6. 6 John in Salem
      May 8, 2008 at 15:58

      To put it simply, there is only one Amazon and the earth can’t afford to waste it on raising cattle or building furniture. The rest of the world has to step up to the plate and offer alternatives to the locals or we will deserve what we get.

    7. 7 Peter Gizzi UK
      May 8, 2008 at 16:01

      I feel the best people to offer advise would be The Indiginous Indians who have lived in and off the forest for a very long time. I would seem though that they have become second class citizens?

      Who are we in the west to say anything! We cleared our forests hundreds of years ago. They too must have had an effect on climate too?

    8. 8 Dennis Young, Jr.
      May 8, 2008 at 20:43

      I think that everyone should take a interest in protecting the Amazon Rainforest…..

      Dennis~Madrid, United States of America

    9. 9 Tom
      May 9, 2008 at 03:12

      “Who are we in the west to say anything! We cleared our forests hundreds of years ago. They too must have had an effect on climate too?”

      That is precisely the dilemma faced by the west. The west themselves have been pillaging the world’s resources for centuries?

      How could the west tells the developing world to curtail its development without drawing resentments? Perhaps this could be alleviated by offering favorable trade concessions to the developing countries that adopt responsible environmental policies. These concessions must be significant enough to offset the loss of business opportunities arising from environment protection.

    10. 10 Peter Gizzi UK
      May 9, 2008 at 16:41

      I totally agree with you. Sadly we in The European Union are not allowed to do such things. We have no freedom anymore. We are told with whom we should trade and how much we should pay!

    11. May 11, 2008 at 06:43

      The Amazon belongs to the countries where the Jungle is at the moment, as any other property that one have it, it is fair to ask the owner first, what they are doing or are going to do to preserve “the property”. I feel sorry for the countries in Europe that now lost their freedom as the Americans are loosing their little by little, without noticing. South America, is getting back the freedom with one advantage, we still have our Tropical Forest and a bright future ahead. What the rest of the world should do is, stop whining and start doing something to help them selves before it gets to late, time is running short.

    12. 12 James Smith
      May 11, 2008 at 19:26

      The problem with the Amazon is identical to other problems such as carbon footprints, global warming and the price of oil. Simply put, there are too many people on the planet. They all want to live better, meaning more materialistic, lives. As long as billions of people have the income to purchase this lifestyle, the problem will continue to grow.

      If the world population were reduced to around 3 billion or less, most of these issues would go away, no matter what their incomes or lifestyles. Fewer people mean fewer cars, boats, and planes and ultimately less pollution and less environmental destruction.

    13. 13 rafał
      May 11, 2008 at 21:08

      We have to protect Earth and local people want to survive and get money – the would be strange if they weren’t do it. So, we can pay these countries for eg. oxygen we get from Amazon or sell them cheaper food. We must think about all of us!

    14. May 12, 2008 at 02:39

      The Amazon is just one of many conundrums facing the world. There are globally significant systems that need “protection” of one kind or another, yet we rely on local and national governments to put the good of the world ahead of their own needs. Since when has the West ever done that – never! So why do we expect others to do it for us? We in the West are so arrogant!

      It’s time for the west to “put their money where their mouth is.” The bottom line is that the world needs the Amazon protected for our own good, but how can we stop people from using it – thereby destroying it – as we have done to our own backyards in Europe, North America and Australia? The Great Plains ecosystem simply does not exist anymore, nor does the European forest ecosystem except as scattered remnants of plants with a few lower level consumers.

      We in the West create the demand for the resources of the rainforest and we in the West have the monetary resources to do something about preserving. Are we willing to give up some of our well-being to help the world have a better future? Unfortunately, the answer is an unequivocal NO! No matter how we think of ourselves as philanthropists and environmentalists this kind of action requires a sea-change in thought. We’ve barely begun to think about people outside our own nation (and Europe is way ahead of North America), never mind conjuring up the necessary broadmindedness needed to understand that we are all at risk here and that we can only solve this through a truly global effort.

    15. 15 George Wills Bangirana
      May 12, 2008 at 06:12

      It is a fact that the Amazon must be preserved if mother earth is to continue sustaining us. The dilemma is how is done and who will do it when the biggest polluters refuse to accept the fact that they are the major causes of the problem? and again how does the people who are utilising the resource going to be told to desist from chopping down the trees and clearing to grow Soya? who has the moral authority when the developed world cut down any semblance of a forest long ago to develop and now they are relying on the less developed world to produce what they consume and paradoxically expect the underdeveloped world to do so without endangering the rainforest.
      May the developed world take the lead by cutting down on materialism and carbon emissions, and then they will be able to speak and the world to listen.
      Who should protect the forest should not even be a question as the people who have lived within and off the Amazon have done so effectively and efficiently, and I presume they know best how to do it.
      That is my view

    16. 16 NR
      May 12, 2008 at 20:04

      I work with an international conservation organisation on Amazon conservation, and we’re trying to get people – globally – to recognise that their life is intertwined with the Amazon whether they want it to be or not! Not only from a commodities point of view (either soy, meat, perhaps biofuels or even more sustainably-sourced rainforest products), but from a global climate point of view. In that light, it’s really important that everyone realises that they play an important role in conserving this marvelous rainforest!

      But – it’s important to conserve ALL forested areas – if we concentrate exclusively on conserving the Amazon, we’ll face the “leakage” issue, i.e. in order to decrease deforestation in the Amazon, some other country will enter that market and deforest to supply the products that are not being sourced from Amazonian countries.

      The final responsibilty therefore rests on ALL of us – as consumers, to be wise in our choices and judicious about learning where things come from; as scientists to inform the public about the importance of sustainability and conservation; as economists or corporations to shy away from a “perfect market scenario” and “unlimited resources” neo-classical economics to a “closed-system”, ecological-economics paradigm; and as politicians who should favour policies that have a global importance and supports conservation. And it’s not limited to Amazonian countries, because EVERYONE really is tied to the Amazon and reaping the benefits it has to offer.

    17. 17 Robert
      May 13, 2008 at 01:22


      Easy answer:

      ALL OF US.

      The planet Earth relies on it therefore we all have a stakehold in its protection. Traditional borders have vanished and the world does not work like a Victorian age map. Countries are just too greedy to make an annual contribution to stopping deforestation. Why should one country be responsible for protecting a core planet lifeline when it can’t even afford reasonable welfare support for its own citizens.

      Its just so easy… when you think about it.

    18. 18 Violeta
      May 13, 2008 at 08:16

      I was born in a small region in the Peruvian Amazon.
      regarding to this comment :

      “Who are we in the west to say anything! We cleared our forests hundreds of years ago. They too must have had an effect on climate too?”

      in my opinion the west has already experienced the consequences of destroying almost in total of their natural resources, most of the amazonian settlers cut the forest, of course in search of better income and immediate food. The awareness to what happens after, it is far on their thinking, at least in most of the cases. on the contrary, what it is seen is “everything coming from west is the best”. So, “new agricultural techniques” are introduced, monocrop agriculture with high energy input. It works!!! as long one have the technology and the source to do so, but indigenous and riberenios settler don’t.
      but local people could do it in another way, for instance, keeping their traditional way of cropping and using the land imitating the forest cycle, in another words agroforestry, but it is not that easy as its sound, most of the knowledge for this technique have the indigenous.

    19. 19 Violeta part II
      May 13, 2008 at 08:27

      so I think that western people could also HELP on the local awareness for preserving the Amazon, the discussion here is already a way for us to see how important our surrounding is. Technologies such as GPS and other similar and the capital source is coming most from the west.

    20. 20 Vitor
      May 13, 2008 at 18:19

      Who buys the wood? We should stop them. If there is illegal wood, there is illegal market.
      Look at your furniture and guess where did it come from.
      In Brazil, everything started when Portugal extracted wood and gold 500 years ago. The gold problably still is in England’s bank.
      And the wood? Well, trucks full loaded leaves amazon forest everyday. Where does it go?
      Im sorry for my english and for my poor text. I didn’t have time to think too much. Neither do I want.
      Good luck everyone.

    21. 21 Louis
      May 15, 2008 at 00:22

      Unfortunately Lula da Silva, the actual president of Brazil do not seem in control of his own territory that represents the main part of the Amazon valley…for this reason a comprehensive international action under United Nation authority should take place to make sure no local ill policies and mercantile corruption, obviously the case at the moment, continue to hamper the longs of the planet; Brazil had all chances SINCE YEARS to address the situation and never did, it should not be left in the hands of such a shortsighted administration for sovereinghty purpose; the bigger picture is at stake here, the planet can’t be left in the hands of such people that uses crops for engine fuel, in spite of warning of planet famine, we should act now….not in 2020, after dumb world conferences…NOW

    22. May 15, 2008 at 02:12

      The fate of the Amazon depends on the world population’s life styles. Rich people in the rich countries are at the top of the list. World will be green if every country is willing to give up competition on having the best modernization.

    23. 23 Louis
      May 15, 2008 at 02:14

      Follow up…..what kind of means can we imagine for immediate action….before starting a world conference of “no strings attached” scientific experts, a moratorium on industrial and commercial exploitation of the area of the map presented in this topic…and after, implementation of the conclusions of the world scientific conference on the future of the rainforest of the Amazon.
      It is just a wake up international call. Whatever outcries and outrages from the countries involved, we all know that this solution is for the best for the planet and all humanity,
      give me the power and i will implement it….but i guess i would need a lot of protection for my security and the follow up of the action….heart and attention is the driving force


    24. 24 Brett
      May 15, 2008 at 02:21

      As posted in my Talking Points page:

      On the Amazon:

      So, what comes first – growing food or keeping forests?
      I don’t think it boils down to as simple a question as that. If we were using our current agricultural land to its full potential and full efficiency and we were still not able to feed our population, then and only then can we realistically pose the above question.

      The first thing is to turn to our current agriculture industry, not only in this country, but across the world and make everything more efficient. It is already proven countless times again that the land and resources used to produce meat, if used to directly feed the human population through farming will prove more productive. Government subsidies also help to encourage farmers to farm crops which perhaps are not the best choice or most suitable for the land they have, resulting in an inefficient use of land and resources.

      As has also been pointed out on this blog, we waste so much food due to sell-by dates and simply discarding scraps and leftovers, that we are not utilizing our current food supply in the most efficient manner.

      These points and many others help to back and illustrate that before turning to clear-cutting and destroying forests to increase farm land, we should take a step back and see how we are doing with what we are currently working with and what changes we can make to better use the land we are currently using for farming. There is little sense in increasing the land used for farming if we are going to continue to use it inefficiently.

      Can environmentalism and economic development go together?

      Yes, but not the never ending growth and development that a capitalistic society and economy thrives on. A good introduction to this idea is made in “11th Hour”. NPR has furthered this idea covering many lectures on this topic. If anyone is interested: http://www.tucradio.org/new.html that is a link that contained a few lectures which were wonderfully conducted. Scroll down to Solutions and Confronting the Global Triple Crisis.

      Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

    25. May 15, 2008 at 03:54

      I understand everyone’s point of view on this issue but have got some things I would like to comment on. I think that Amazon belongs to the humanity, that is, Amazon’s protection must be done by all of us. However, as I can see there are many people worried about how the weather will be like in the future or what could happen if the deforestation and logging in the area don’t stop. Bering in mind that to reach a common welfare for all citizens in the world we should take steps together with the prospect of helping the preservation of the area as well as remembering that the global warming and climate change have not only been happening due to either deforestation or logging in the forest. The emission of pollutants and gases in the air by US, China, India, Russia, Germany, UK, has contributed a lot for this too. Besides thinking of what could be done in the Amazon to preserve the area we should also have this idea in mind and to try to make people aware that a universal collaboration will definitely bring an excellent outcome that we all can benefit from. All is not lost yet. But we must think positively because Amazon has lots of good things to provide us with.
      If we do so, it’s a sure thing we will all keep on breathing in the end.

    26. 27 Dennis
      May 15, 2008 at 06:50


      here is the link for story:


      Dennis>>>Madrid, United States of America

    27. 28 Balletlover22
      May 15, 2008 at 08:47

      Consumption is consuming us, for this reason I fear for the amazon. I have worked in the Ecuador cloud forest, and visited the Peruvian amazon. I have no solutions only questions. Such is the beauty of the life within the jungle, that the more you venture into it the more you realise you know nothing at all. We should be able to visit parts of it but accept that access is a privilege granted to those who can live in it without destroying it.

    28. 29 Rolf
      May 15, 2008 at 09:12

      The most important and probably only action on all the current problems like global warming, forest depletion, food shortages, raising energy prices, etc is:
      stop breeding human beings.

    29. 30 Helio Brustolin
      May 15, 2008 at 09:47

      I’m Brazilian and although we are not doing a great job in protecting the Amazon, the vast majority of it belongs to us and should be protected by us. Should other countries be concerned about it they could help with financial aid as long as they keep away from it. It’s easy to critisize other countries for not protecting their reserves when all Europe did in the past was to explore it and profit from it.

    30. 31 Nick Warnes
      May 15, 2008 at 10:03

      I like the iodea from Rafal posted above on 11/05/08 @ 9.08. It is said the Amazon are the lungs of the World, if you view the Planet as a human being then all the body parts work in harmony to preserve each other, when we pollute the body (smoking for instance) like we pollute the planet the lun gs suffer.

      A number of comments above talk of economic and social solutions above, well Rafal has a good one if the world could agree, we all talk of carbon trading (allowing pollution) well what about an Oxygen trade by paying the indigenous people and those economies to preserve the forest/lungs of the world by charging for oxygen produced? We happily pay the producers of Oil in the world for the fuel that makes our machines work and provide energy, what about paying for the fuel that makes us as humans work. I say Oxygen Trading not carbon Trading, might be radical but i think it is something to loook at

    31. 32 Pangolin
      May 15, 2008 at 10:22

      The genetic biodiversity of the Amazon is more real wealth than the rest of the world put together. Hundreds of thousands of plant species along with untold numbers of beetles, ants, caterpillers and other unique life forms all producing unique protiens and alkaloids. I have several kinds of Amazon herbs in my medicine cabinet right now that I purchased at a fairly high price.

      Once one of those species is gone it cannot be studied and understood and it’s gone forever. Frequently other species dependent upon specific services of an extinct species will die too.

      The world is full of rock, water, minerals and farmland; there is only one Amazon. If Brazil kills the goose that lays golden eggs they will be the first to pay for the loss.

    32. 33 John Kolodziejski
      May 15, 2008 at 10:33

      Brazil should protect its part of the Amazon. Unfortunately it has NOT performed this function effectively. In my experience simple vigilance of the main highways is lax where it exists. I have witnessed the under-trained staff at major police control points on the Porto Velho-Cuiaba highway routinely ignoring huge timber consignments. Simple, real policing would go a long way to protecting the Amazon from industrial scale devastation. Sadly, the political will to do so appears to be absent. An analogious situation exists with Brazil’s traffic cops: they are ‘equipped’ with low-powered motorcycles that are no match for the high speed vehicles breaking the law. Conclusion: if the UK or US police were badly trained and given such means to tackle speeding drivers then we would rightly conclude public power is uninterested in solving the problem. Ditto the Amazon.
      Let’s start the effort to protect the Amazon by firstly getting a real idea of exactly how, where and what amounts of its resources are being removed then pressure the Brazilian government to police it properly. A modest start for a huge problem.

    33. 34 Luciano
      May 15, 2008 at 10:45

      This debate is good, although the question is obvious — each country has the sovereignty to decide how to protect (or not) their territory. United States is doing a real mess to the environment with its mountain top coal mining and I don’t see anyone talking about intervention in US territory.
      Still, the concerned countries have the right (and duty) to politically push brazilian government to take measures that can bring real outcomes. I lived in Manaus myself, and I can say that nothing the Brazilian government ever did to protect the Amazon gave any results — the only reason it’s still there is because the forest is too big and powerful to be destroyed. But people will eventually win the battle.
      One other thing the concerned nations can do to improve the situation is to perform a reality check in their consumption habits. Brazil exports soy (22,066,365 metric tons in 2006, 2nd largest in the world), meat (1st largest beef exporter of the world in 2005), and of course wood and furniture. The soy and cattle farms are expanding north, towards the Amazon, because world consuption is increasing and food prices are rising. Are the rich countries willing to pay more for food to save the Amazon?

    34. May 15, 2008 at 11:09

      The problem with debating the moral high ground on the issue of who should protect the Amazon rain forest is that it creates indecision and delays. There isn’t time to flap around and argue whether we should step in or not, pressure must be applied to everybody that damages the environment, it’s just a question of which body/organisation is going to do it.

      Who are we in the west to say the Amazon should not be chopped down? Because we have data to show the damage it does and it will affect the whole world. Because we have learned from our mistakes. We might not all be doing anything to save the planet but the ground swell of environmental opinion is gaining momentum by the day and when the powers that control the desecration and pollution of the planet are turned from making money in destruction to making money in creation, then we might be able to halt this if not to turn this awful situation around.

      Action is needed and quickly.

    35. 36 Shirley
      May 15, 2008 at 11:42

      I am tired of hearing peple call for an isolationist policy, as if what happens outside of one’s own country does not impact him. Whether we live there or not, the Amazon does indeed impact us. It is a massive absorber of corbon dioxide, and a major producer of breathable air. It contains many forms of life that could be used for medicine. Its unique balance of life has links worldwide.

      Who should protect the Amazon rainforests? We should, with the way that we live our lives. Those rainforests, like the rest of Mother Earth’s resources, are our air, our water, our food, our clothing our shelter, our medicine. Use them wisely and in a way that complements their place in the ecology, and both they and we benefit. Abuse them for profit and capitalistic gain, and they will die. And then so will we.

      See my posts on Talking Points for 15 May at https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/05/14/talking-points-for-15-may/#comment-23012 and https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/05/14/talking-points-for-15-may/#comment-23013 . I feel shy to re-post them here, though the second deserves another chance at correct spelling.

    36. May 15, 2008 at 13:01

      Ahhh, the ills of hypocrisy. We acquire our country by hunting down natives like wild animals and commit genocide. We import and employ slavery to prop up our economy and increase our wealth. We developed industry that spews toxins and chemicals into the environment like some festering sick sore on mother earths surface. We level our forest and pollute our fresh water. We then developed a nuclear bomb and explode it in an act of war. Then we threaten and even invade the rest of the world. We stand ourselves up on a pedestal and say, “Look at us. We are the example. Everybody should be like us. We are ‘free’.”

      Slowly we come to the realization that maybe we shouldn’t have done all those things. So we spread our influence around the world telling and even threatening people not to commit genocide, keep other humans as slaves, pollute their environment, cut down their forests, build nuclear bombs, or invade other countries. The problem is that “kids” learn more from watching their parents then they do listening to them. So it is with developing nations, and so it is that our hypocrisy has come around full circle.

      Hey, I got an idea. If Brazil refuses to stop cutting down their rain forests, we should drop a nuclear bomb on them.

    37. 38 Steven
      May 15, 2008 at 13:20

      Hi all,

      There are a lot of very salient points which have already been made, my view is as follows:

      You can understand people doing what is necessary in order to survive/maintain a particular standard of living/improve their standard of living. the trouble is, there are too many people who want the same things. It is unsustainable for everyone to use cars/tv’s/aeroplanes the way western countries do, but Westerners would never tolerate reducing their own living standards, and it is morally wrong to say that some should have and others should not. But the tragedy is that by allowing everyone to have, eventually no-one can – Jared Diamond called it. ‘ the Tragedy of the Commons’. Everyone will help themselves because they know if they don’t, then someone else will, so why should they lose out?

      It is the same with so many things – rainforests, fish stocks, oil reserves – so many of these things that will be decimated by human greed. The solution? It is pretty difficult to know how to proceed, but why doesn’t the UN use military resources to protect these areas – ships to patrol known fishing hot spots, and then they can control how much is caught. Armies to guard and patrol jungle and rainforest that is being stripped bare, and keep them international so that they won’t be as vulnerable to corruption (if the eyes of the world are on them, no-one will want to appear less honest than their peers).

      These suggestions might help to reduce the damage being done, but there is still the problem of overpopulation – which MUST be addressed as a matter of urgency (it is politically incorrect to suggest that there are too many people, and that we have to reduce the population, but it is true. Thomas Malthus spotted the problem over 200 years ago, and a quick look at the history of Easter Island will tell you that too many people equals disaster.). Everything is so inextricably intertwined that we cannot simply focus on one problem and hope everything else will be solved. We have to look at everything at once, and solve everything at the same time. Or at least try to.

    38. 39 Bob in Queensland
      May 15, 2008 at 13:23

      The locals need to have some control of their own land but it’s up to both the Brazilian government and the rest of the world to make it worth their while NOT to burn it down.

      One thought comes to mind: I’ve always been sceptical of the idea of trading carbon offsets, but I wonder if the rainforest itself could soon become an economic resource in its own right.

    39. 40 pendkar
      May 15, 2008 at 14:39

      When I started reading today’s post I had just finished taking print outs for this semester’s course records. Five copies! There is a pile of student assignments lying on the floor. All of them print outs. These are the final drafts, they may have made other drafts.They will not ever be looked at again.

      It is sad, the amount of paper one needs to consume for day to day work. Until I completed my master’s degree, I was used to seeing people making hand written notes and typing out document on mechanical type writers. Writing paper seemed to last forever. It is so difficult to fill up entire note books with writing. But when printers became common place, I have seen reams and reams disappear, just like that.

      We humans have a knack for cultivating wants that are damaging to the environment. We have been doing it for a long time now.Do we have the guts to face the situation and cut down our ever growing dependence on all kinds of unessential comforts? Do I have the courage to find out what the spoon of sugar in my tea is doing to forests someplace? All our consumption has ramifications. When I was in the north east of India recently, I saw the largescale landscape was shaped entirely by tea gardens. What was the original vegetation? Do I give thought to it, when I down the 3 cups of tea I cannot do without, each morning, living on the other end of the country?

      When people in all corners of the globe become dependent on the produce of some location, there is little choice left to the locals in what they do with their land. Most of the time, the locals are only paid a pittance for producing commodities that alter their environment and tax their natural resources.

      Are the non-local consumers willing to acknowledge that these commodities are luxuries, pay a good price for them, and cut the level of consumption?

    40. 41 Brett
      May 15, 2008 at 14:52

      Exactly, you can’t tell someone to live in poverty in a lush forest so that you can live comfortably and guilt free in your air conditioned house, with your Suburban and Hummer parked in the driveway.

      We don’t have to gain their support in helping to save the Amazon as much as we have to support them in doing so.

      -Policy (local and international)
      -Enforcement of local laws
      -Consumption Pattern Changes (on an individual consumer level)
      -International Pressure
      -International ASSISTANCE
      -Trasferance of Technology

      and many more are all areas which need to be addressed to help solve the problem of the rich world trying to tell the poor world that they must continue to live at a lower standard in their lovely forest.

      Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

    41. 42 Brett
      May 15, 2008 at 15:00

      @ Pendkar
      It is sad, the amount of paper one needs to consume for day to day work.

      I completely agree with you! My office wastes so much paper, its amazing. About 6 months ago I began taking every bit of my waste paper at the office and copies of documents which are required to print that never get filed and starting a box which I take home and put on the curb to be recycled every 2 weeks.

      Just myself, in one month I am able to fill an entire 18” tall box with waste paper which is neatly laid into the box, not crumpled. I would imagine each box is a couple thousand sheets of paper, and it only takes one month to fill the box. Unfortunately there is no way to change our current printing system from printing out multiple copies when we don’t need them (one for accounting, one for filing, one for the customer; Even when only one is needed for accounting), I suppose recycling is better than nothing. The ideal way would be to change our system and minimize waste. We were just bought out though by a larger corporation so I hope that when we switch on to their system, they have one which has much less paper waste.

      Just this instance goes to show though, how there is so much waste in our daily lives that we may look over as we live day to day. Change has to start somewhere though, right?

      Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

    42. 43 david parody
      May 15, 2008 at 15:05

      locals should have control of their recources but must have an effective replenishment plan in order to have sustainability of such especially when dealing with forrests as tree farming is the way forward in this area an is detrimental for human survival as these are the producers of life as it stands the same thing must go into sea recources and evey thing that is taken out must have time to replenish and goverments should place strict guide lines if these are to be adhered to, and the monetary aspects should take secound place to the survival of the human race if not we will eventually dissapear like all great races who abuse their natural habitat and find ourselfs either throw n into an era
      of barren lands with great famine war & violence as we will kill each other for the basic nesesaties for life food & water,even tyo the stage of canabilism as history will alway repeat itsef man will do ANYTHING TO SURVIVE

      S o those in power think about what should we do TODAY to enjoy a better and safer TOMMOROW


    43. 44 Marsha
      May 15, 2008 at 15:22

      Who is responsible for the palnet is a better question. We can no longer live in the ignorance that we own our little piece of the eart so we can do what ever we wan to it. Just because ou can’t see that what you are doing if effect everyone else doesn’t mean it’s OK.


    44. 45 Bob in Queensland
      May 15, 2008 at 15:36

      @pendkar and brett

      Whilst in no way advocating wastage, it’s worth noting that most of the softwood used in the pulp and paper comes from “farmed” trees which are a sustainable resource. This, coupled with the amount of recycling that goes on, makes the use of paper one of my smaller concerns!

      The hardwoods in the Brazilian rainforests, being destroyed to make fashionable furniture or even just create farmland, are far less replaceable.

    45. 46 Brett
      May 15, 2008 at 15:50


      I completely understand and agree, I was just stating that small changes in lifestyle can be made to place less stress on the environment.
      Thanks also for the clarification between the two ‘types’ of wood as I don’t believe it had been noted in this discussion yet.

    46. 47 Phillip Rugani
      May 15, 2008 at 16:03

      “Does each country have sole responsibility for its natural resources?”
      The question doesn’t need an answer, because actually there is no question.

      Does anyone wants to share natural resources?
      Ok, lets share all the ones. All of them have serious impact on earth climate.

      Let us keep the control of UK coal mines, let us keep the control of Arabian oil wells. Let us keep the control of American soy fields. I think it’s enough to understand the point and to see how ridiculous is this question.

    47. May 15, 2008 at 16:12

      Yes, each country is responsible for their own resources. It is not the busines of other countries to tell them what to do except for nuclear weapons.

    48. 49 Isaac
      May 15, 2008 at 16:16

      Hello whys,

      It is not only the responsibility of a any nation to look after the forest in their countries but a responsibility of every nation to see to it that every human being has basic needs. So if the forest is going to give us those need, we can look after the forest. Who cares what happens in the Congo basin, no one, is that not the important forest for our stable climate? In Serberina Russia is the same case trees are being cut down in numbers without consideration of the consquences of the world climate. We human beings must just admit that we are selfish, we can do anything so long its suits us. People have always being destruction look at the deserts on every continent this is due of human carelessness because they dont care of what God gave us- the forest. So we would care even if the Amazon with rich primates disappear so long we can survive.


    49. 50 Andrew
      May 15, 2008 at 16:28

      Does the use of those resources affect the entire planet? If you reduce a vast forest that is essential to processing the planet’s atmosphere to nothing more than a degraded desert or devastate fish stocks in the oceans to the extent that you condemn numbers of species to extinction and destroy massive ecosystems, then the answer is yes. Just because of some fluke of nature or colonisation you happen to be occupying a tract of land that has some material and monetary value does not entitle you to either squander its natural wealth nor to destroy the environment for years to come for the sake of short term gain. It is the arrogance of humans across the globe that ensures we will degrade our natural environment and ultimately destroy our way of life by the thinking that we are entitled to do with what lay around us or under us as we please. This is not even taking into consideration that other life exists and deserves our respect and, I would strongly add, is just as entitled to the resources available and a place within this world as we are. We do this at our own peril and we can see how our treatment of the planet and the greed we have issued forth is impacting upon us. We seem to live as though we do not have just one planet and finite resources or that our rampant spread and lust for resources can ever impact us adversely. But the original question… how can we justify our greed in consuming resources if it impacts others, we cannot. Can Sudan or Turkey divert their rivers so that others have no water? Can Brazil convert the Amazon to a soy plantation and destroy the lungs of the Earth that provide all of us air to breathe? Of course not, but I doubt we will evolve beyond this limited and short term way of thinking anytime soon, even when faced with a collapse of both our civilisation and environment.

    50. 51 Kwabena
      May 15, 2008 at 16:39

      The largest polluters are not the only ones suffering from the effects of global warning and so we must all know that we will all suffer the consequences of environmental degradation by one state. The amazon is the property of sovereign states but they owe it a duty to protect and manage it in the interest of the whole world.

    51. 52 Muhammad
      May 15, 2008 at 16:56

      I say Yes for the clear reason that if a country takes the sole responsibility of its resources it will utilize them in better way realizing it as their asset. Whereas, if we consider whole world responsible for it then responsibility will be compromised and more damages are expected.

      With Regards,

      Gujranwala, Pakistan

    52. May 15, 2008 at 17:07

      Sustainable farming is the answer. If NPR can show us how to grow cocoa: then we can do it. Just this morning there are reports about how incentives must be offered to the farmers to not cut down the forest; but these same incentives $ have been offered for the last 20 years and it doesn’t work because for one thing most of those are ever lessening US dollars. But more importantly this work takes the farmers out of the fields and that will never work. These are people whose very lives are imbedded in the soil and you cannot ‘buy them off’ of it. When farmers have a sustainable approach that incorporates the Rainforest within their farms then there is harmony and balance that can sustain all types of farming.

    53. 54 Robert Evans
      May 15, 2008 at 17:22

      Hi I feel it appropiate that a new task force set up to protect the amazon rainforest by the United Nations and that is because most of the countries of the world is repersented at the United Nations. The task force needs to have the ability to gather evidence of any damage caused by humans to the amazon rainforest and then the people would then face being charged in there home country in relation to the damage that they cause.



    54. May 15, 2008 at 17:50

      @ all who say, “yes”. What changes do you propse? Do we start a war with Brazil if they don’t conply with our mandates? Do we enter by force and stop the loggers from logging?

    55. May 15, 2008 at 17:53

      The Amazon is God’s gift to the present generation of the aboriginal or first people of that space or place; that is, in the language of evolutionists, the present evolution of people whose origin can be traced to the people who first evolved there. It is their divine or evolution and inalienable right. Who would the declaration of the Amazon as a “no man’s land” benefit? Which nation has or which nations have the so-called international programmes always benefitted? It would be another high theft and criminality to declare the Amazon a “NO man’s Land” as was done in the land of the the Indians which, because of the declaration, became known as “the Colonies”, and which, in other to have the declaration legalised or legitimised, most of them were murdered by the Colonies, and, with the declaration of independence, it was declared the United States of America?.

      Prince Pieray Odor

      Lagos, Nigeria

    56. 57 Thea Winter - Indianapolis
      May 15, 2008 at 17:59

      I think that looking at the total cost of the Amazon is the correct approach. All of us receive the benefits of the Amazon and we need to keep it safe. I work in the Pharmaceutical industry and there is a lot of planes growing int the Amazon that we are looking at for new drugs. The people in Brazil need to look at other ways to use the Amazon that does not destroy it.

      I also like the comments from Prince Charles. I have never heard him talk so passionately about an issues.

    57. 58 Venessa in Portland, OR
      May 15, 2008 at 18:02

      How can we say the rain forest belongs to humanity? Does it not belong to all of it’s inhabitants, not just humans? Humanity is the reason for the problems. I agree with James Smith.

    58. 59 Corey in Albany NY USA
      May 15, 2008 at 18:11

      It’s up to the Brazilian government to stop the illegal logging and loss of the resources. International governments may be able to provide support for enforcement if requested but it should be a country’s decision. I think Brazil knows they’ve got a real crisis and if they had the means to end the problem now they would.

    59. 60 Terry
      May 15, 2008 at 18:12

      First, the answer to this question is not whether we should or shouldn’t, but why haven’t we done this by now. It should be clear to everyone by now that the climate has changed, and will continue to do so if no action is taken within the industrialized world. It is also clear that the global community has a moral responsibility to future generations to ensure that this constant destruction of one of the worlds pristine ecological habitats must stop immediately. Please, will some country, group of countries, get together and spring to action before it is too late. Bill Gates, please give the Brazilian govenrnment 25 billion and lease it for 99 years. You will do more to save the planet than any single human being in the history of mankind.
      Work out a plan with the government and the people and give them anything they want and make it sustainable. Any price is worth it. If all the countries currently at war gave up a day of hostilities, the world could come up with the downpayment to buy the rain forest. It doesnt take genius, just governments/people willing to want the world to survive for future generations.

    60. 61 Chad
      May 15, 2008 at 18:19

      There are natural resources that can be trapped in mines or oil wells, and are extracted for profit. Other natural resources are released into the atmosphere, and are practically invisible and ignored. Are the latter, which we all use, less valuable than the former? If it were practical for all those who own forested land to trap their oxygen and sell it to the rest, what would be the price per bottle? The same question could be asked about the capacity to sequester carbon, the immense natural heritage associated with rainforests, and the enormous amounts of medical and other scientific research that remains to carried out.

    61. 62 Brett
      May 15, 2008 at 18:19

      @ all who say, “yes”. What changes do you propse? Do we start a war with Brazil if they don’t conply with our mandates? Do we enter by force and stop the loggers from logging?

      Incentives, incentives, incentives.

      Simply throwing money at the problem will not fix the situation.

      Find out what it is those dependent upon the Amazon need both economically and socially and find ways to meet those needs.

      With all of the offshoring many western nations are doing with their service and manufacturing industries, perhaps we could offshore some of those jobs to Amazonian countries such as Brazil and offer options for the natives who may not have any other option at the current time than to work the land or further degrade the rain forest.

      This scenerio could provide the following benefits.

      To Amazonians:
      + They benefit from better wages than provided from clearcutting and burning forests
      + They benefit from training and knowledge transfer from the service or manufacturing sectors they gain training to work in.
      + They get to make a living and keep their rainforests

      To the World:
      + The world benefits from the potentially cheaper offshore labor.
      + The world benefits from the rain forest not being destroyed.

      It would be of utmost importance to make sure that the past exploitation of the labor forces in the FTZs in Mexico and other countries are not repeated. We need to make sure the labor force is taken care of financially, ethically, and morally.

      We need to make sure that whatever incentives or programs we think of, that we have their support in participating in such programs, that their standards of living are increased, that their basic needs are met, and they are well informed of the treasure their countries contain and its importance to the world.

      The above is one small idea to help in solving this problem. It will take many ideas and many programs coming from many angles to tackle this situation. It is not simply an environmental problem. It is a social, economical, environmental, and cultural issue.

      Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

      May 15, 2008 at 18:33

      There is a very simple disconnect in the equation which most of us seem to be missing.

      1. The Rain-Forest produces RAIN as an OUTPUT. Without the Rain-Forest there is no RAIN.

      2. Those who grow soya beans ( or indeed any other crop ) require RAIN as an INPUT.

      3. Currently, the growers expect RAIN to come down from heaven as a FREE input. They do not pay anything in $ terms for RAIN water. ( If instead of direct rain they buy water locally or get water from a river etc., they are effectively still using rain water.) So, their profit / cost equation is not taking directly into account the true cost of producing RAIN by the Rain-Forest.

      4. So growers ( and indeed any other water end-user ) should pay the owners of the Rain-Forest actual $ for the RAIN that the Rain-Forest produces and that the end-users use as an INPUT. i.e. RAIN should be SOLD as another commodity. ( Local authorities around the world who on sell water from rivers etc. to local end-users should similarly pay actual $ to those who own the resources that produces the water in the first place i.e. the Rain-Forest owners.)

    63. May 15, 2008 at 18:37

      Phil in Bahrain writes:

      It is of no business to avowed eco-romantics and amateurs in all of these remote environmental organisations who professs to know better than anyone – while their staff is not even university trained in the subject – just how many giga tons of CO2 are produced, consumed etc by the rain forest and how to best manage it for all humanity. Their approach is actually to consider nature as some kind of machine that will respond to their expectations (that only contain simple do-this-get-that responses to what are much more complex processes) to man’s command to leave it alone.

      it is up to the Brazilians to manage their own territory. and they will do a great job of it. it is no business of the guilty-feeling west to impose its eco-romantic view. actually the media is most guilty, by lack of positioning of each opinion in a scientific context, of fanning the flames – as it were.

    64. May 15, 2008 at 18:38

      Wayne Knowles writes

      The rainforest should be preserved, there is no doubt about it. If soy is to be grown it should be done on surrounding scrubland. But don’t forget forests in other countries. For example, the UK was heavily deforested during the Midle Ages as was never replanted. There are vast areas of fallow/open acreage (currently not used for farming) in the UK that could be used to replant trees. With careful management these new forests could be used as local timber supply. Whilst we would not be self-sufficient for timber it would reduce relaince on other countries timber and reduce emissions by shipping less timber halfway around the world.

    65. May 15, 2008 at 18:39

      Peter Gizzi in the UK writes:

      Typically The European Union takes it’s usual high handed stance with respect to The Environment, while MEPs do nothing themselves to become more environmentally friendly. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH FIRST!

    66. May 15, 2008 at 18:47

      Adam in Portland, Oregon, writes

      I would buy sustainable products from the Amazon, I actively do not buy products from Brazil due to their current policies toward the rainforest.

    67. May 15, 2008 at 18:55

      There are three factors that make tropical rainforests the world’s business:

      They’re a significant carbon reservoir, at a time when humans are pouring gigatons of fossil CO2 into the atmosphere.

      They’re a biological storehouse with the potential to aid survival and prosperity in a changing world.

      And they tend to be a somewhat delicate ecosystem with vulnerable soils. Allowing unsustainable logging and slash & burn agriculture so that people can have fancy furniture and engorge themselves on beef burgers is lunacy. There at least need to be incentives for good management.

    68. 69 Taisa Santana (from Brazil)
      May 15, 2008 at 18:55

      As everybody else already said, globalization makes all countries dependable to one another. Exploiting resources means producing goods the whole world needs. If there is demand, certainly there will be supply. How can developing countries stop their economic growth when supplying that demand is their only choice for providing, say, education for its population?

      COOPERATION is the answer. International assistance, international financial incentives to compensate economic loss, transference of technology, dialogues.
      If the amazon forest should be under total protection of the international community, then we might as well do the same with all forests, rivers and all kinds of natural resources around the world. How unnecessarily complex does that sound? I do agree the amazon is a global concern, but international community should HELP instead of TAKE IT OVER.

    69. 70 Max in Oregon
      May 15, 2008 at 18:55

      At a certain point the destruction of the Amazon effects the lives of others around the world. More specifically its destruction causes more global warming due to the reduction of CO2 recycling. When this happens, it becomes a global issue and all countries effected have the right to protect themselves.

    70. May 15, 2008 at 18:57

      @ Dwight: there’s no ‘yes or no’ question on the table here. And we’ve already tried the military options with US backing- it didn’t work because it drove the people into massive poverty and we had to pay to rectify that mistake.

      The question is the antithesis: how many years are we going to ignore the ancestors who did farm sustainably. The BBC did an interview with the Kogi tribe who still to this day have a completely sustainable society that doesn’t allow any outsiders in to their home at the top of the Sierra Madre mountains in the Rainforest. What did the Kogi tell the BBC, the only other culture to ever have real contact with this society, they said: “Tell the younger brother to stop cutting down our forests or they will kill us all.” They call the world the younger brother and themselves the elder brother. From the mountains in Columbia how do they know about the destruction in the Rainforest, because they can feel it.

      Check this out and if you can support these people you’ll get the BBC documentary that will blow your mind: From the Heart of the World

    71. May 15, 2008 at 18:58

      Nicole Kent emails:

      I find it interesting that when discussing the destruction of the rain forest no has brought up what U.S. companies are doing in the Amazon. U.S. companies like Texaco are destroying the Amazon by the use of substandard technologies and practices that are outlawed in the U.S. Their practices are also socially disruptive to indigenous peoples who have inhabited the Amazon for thousands of years. Oil companies like Texaco and Shell face no responsibilities for the ecological or social havoc they create. The indigenous organization of people in the Amazon (OPIP) have been fighting to gain rightful ownership for years, what sort of progress have they made to date?

    72. 73 Richard in Oregon
      May 15, 2008 at 19:02

      This is a world issue, and part of a much bigger issue that includes the oceans and forests and ecosystems all over the world. The Amazon is the lungs of the world – or at least a major part. Without this resource, we limit the panets ability to recycle carbon dioxide and producce oxygen – it’s really quite simply – get rid of the Amazon, and we will get rid of the people of the earth.
      The countries of the world need to start working together to preserve and respect the earth. If that means other countries providing free, or inexpensive services and products to the countries of the Amazon, then that is s small price to pay. If we do not start thinking in these terms – not just about the Amazon – then we will continue to destroy the resources that support our life on the planet. The reality is that if we do not, then we do not deserve to be stewards of the earth.

    73. 74 Shirley
      May 15, 2008 at 19:13

      I second Brett’s response on May 15, 2008 at 6:19 pm to the question of what to do if Brazil does not comply. On the macro scale, incentives does work. I also think that world governments need to clamp down on the abuse of the Amazon forests for the material gain of corporations and wealthy individuals. The trade of certain goods should be abolished and prosecuted where it occurs illegally. And we should be pressuring our political leaders to accomplish this.

      I wonder what level of destruction would merit sanctions and other U.N.-imposed punishments?

      On the micro level, I would advocate personal responsibility. We should start to learn where our goods come from. Where was our food raised? Where were our clothes (and the fabric in them) made? Where did our biofuel come from? What kind of tree gave way to the lumber for our homes and furniture, and where did it come from? If we actively pursue this kind of informaiton and then act on it. then we will have fulfilled some of our responsibiilties on individual levels.

    74. May 15, 2008 at 19:24

      Here are some of the text messages you’ve been sending us.

      Benjamin in Lusaka
      I kissed my girlfriend under a tree. It’s so romantic so please save forests and preserve nature.

      Chris in Namibia
      Like wildlife in Africa, the Amazon forests must pay 4 themselves or be lost.

      Frank, Italy
      bbc’s amazon day why should we care? environmental protection should be part of global agreement! All the governments need to acknowledge that! All the countries all the people need to do that! We have to think globally and on a very long outlook prospective! Global institutions need to be reorganised! PS I appreciated the discovery discussion prg 14/5/2008

      Hope in Nigeria
      Most Natural resources are corruptly obtained from the developing world. The Amazon will be corruptly stripped very soon.

      Maina in Nairobi
      How about the rest of the world pays the local communities an amazon tax,for the value it adds to life in earth?

      Brian in Namibia
      I think that there should be an alternative 2 deforestation. But i have means what about the poor farmers? As Sting said in 1989, “If I were a Brazilian w/out land or money or the means 2 feed my children, I would burn the rainforest too.” We need to consider all sides b4 going forward.

      Mustaf in Somalia
      We know that Brazil is a member of poor countries and even they have farms that suitable for farming so how they can make their own developement?

    75. 76 Dennis
      May 15, 2008 at 19:30

      i think that the world should take responsiblity for
      the natural resources…

    76. 77 Lamii in Liberia
      May 15, 2008 at 19:53

      Dear Ros
      Isn’t the answer to your question obvious? The primary responsibility for the protection of that forest should fall on the countries that possess the terriorial soveriegnty of the place. But I guest that the rest of us have to insure that they take this responsibility more serious.

    77. 78 pascal
      May 15, 2008 at 20:00

      if we are to strip the beneficiaries of the amazon what they have lived with all their lives. i guess we need to give them something else to live with inorder to save the amazon. world powers the time is now..

    78. 79 Simon
      May 15, 2008 at 21:02

      Remember that not all forests in the developed world are gone; half of the land area of both the United States and Canada are forested, in total 1.5 times the size of the Amazon. Most areas today are either protected or sustainably logged, providing a practical example for South America to follow…

    79. 80 Renato
      May 15, 2008 at 21:06

      Why foreign countries and/or associations should decide how to manage our rainforest?

      The rich countries has destroied their forests and now want to take over Amazon!

      I think ALL THE WORLD should to stop this terrible consume of global resources.

      (Sorry for my poor english.)

    80. May 15, 2008 at 21:17

      Peter spoke to me earlier about what are my thoughts on the topic, specifically, whether I thought the Brazilian Government could be trusted to enact the types of processes required to save the forest such as, regulating its uses and enforcing breaches, as well as providing useful alternatives for those who make their livelihoods from the forest.

      My response is a conflicted no. Just, recently, the Environment Minister Marina Silva resigned her job because she felt that she was being opposed and, partly, from inside the Government. Then, there was the Dorothy Stang ruling and the most alarming of all, the practise of slavery on some of the cotton plantations which are cultivated on land which was originally part of the forest cover.

      All these things, together, suggest to me that there is a way in which the Government seems to lack the wherewhithal to take a very strong stance on the issue of environmental protection, enforcement and the application of other forms of law and order, as they impact the environment. This is obviously a matter of grave concern considering the extent to which the Amazon impacts the rest of the world’s ecosytems, etc. What that means is that the wider world community needs to step in and provide the means by which proper and (more) effective assistance might be rendered to the Brazilian Government; that is, if they will accept it.

      Indeed, the issue of sovereignty is very important here. However, one has to recognise that sometimes there have to be other ways of addressing these problems. This reminds me of Myanmar incident, recently, where the military junta was not permitting aid workers in and forced the people to vote in the referendum at the weekend, even while thousands were dead or dying following the cyclone.

      The international community has to devise a means by which to work with countries like these to ensure that there is not a repeat of such unfortunate incidents. I am not advocating an invasion but vulnerable countries and those in especially delicate situations like Brazil regarding the Amazon, need to be partnered with in such a way as to ensure that there is not a continuation of the destruction of this vital resource. After all, we will all be the poorer by the deforestation of the Amazon, ultimately.

    81. 82 Renato
      May 15, 2008 at 21:35

      I’m sure brazilian people dislike this idea!!!

      It’ll be a hard duty for them to take control of Amazon rainforest.

      Because we know that behind this “good intention” there are many BAD INTENTINONS.

      Amazon got too many biological species, and this is a rich resource of MONEY!!!!!!!

    82. May 15, 2008 at 22:07

      There has to be a “yes” or a “no”. So long have we sat idly discussing solutions. Incentives? who is going to pay them. As soon as a country starts paying incentive, they will feel entitled to influence on the country. What if the people decide to become a Muslim culture? What if Brazil befriends Cuba and supports and promotes many of their agenda? Won’t Americans start asking why we are sending Brazil millions of dollars every year? Will the west stop paying the incentives. Isn’t paying a country “incentives” like paying blackmail?

    83. May 16, 2008 at 00:04

      Do you support your state adopting alternative fuels? If ‘yes’ realize that there’s a good chance right now that the main ingredient will be oil from a tree or a plant grown on land that once was Rainforest and then got slashed and burned. And if ‘no’ then be content with the average fuel mileage in the US being about 20mpg with very weak ‘incentives’ to change and less than a handful of states actually mandating it – our major shipping 18 wheel vehicles average about 4 miles to the gallon in case you wonder why so low. If anyone can be content with that paradigm then maybe yes, just say ‘no’ to Rainforest destruction.

      Otherwise it’s up to anyone’s actions to speak. Are you really willing to explore bio-fuels and realize that we don’t need Soy and Palm plantations in exchange for Teak trees. We have enough recycled oil to power more than just my truck that’s for sure. Think the Ethanol mandate already in place in some states is coming just from corn in American fields. The truth is we barely do produce enough to supply the demand for American families. Add in extra production and we already know we don’t have enough. So we look to the countries like Brazil that have a ‘excess’ of oil. And we make back door deals to acquire it – republicans and democrats alike. This is the war. It’s a war of hunger vs. fuel. One certain yes will be food being the victor over fuel, but no one should be naive enough to think that will end the crisis surrounding that paradigm.

    84. May 16, 2008 at 00:12

      Surely the money issue adds a whole new dimension to the subject. However, let refocus and come to terms with the implications of the destruction of the Amazon for the rest of the world. While, I am not sure how money would, necessarilly, be a useful way of addressing the problem, especially in terms of Dwight argues above, I am concerned that we cannot find more creative ways to solve this potential disaster. There are too many smart people around the globe for us to sit back and watch helplessly here…Or, am I being too dramatic?

    85. 86 Shirley
      May 16, 2008 at 03:01

      Sustainable logging sounds attractive. Hwoever, in order to make those carbon sponges that were mentioned in previous posts here on the 15 May talking points, we have to let a significant amount of forest become old growth.

    86. 87 Joseph
      May 16, 2008 at 05:11

      look i know full well the amazons full vallue and its amazingness, and i also know full well, that we are fully capible of distroying the whole thing if it just exelorates uncontrolebly, how ever I have a fewe fax to be considered just to auther a more collerfull spectrum of viewpoints, first, compleat distruction is verry improble just based on the vast size of it, the incrasing remontness, and the fact that the more it gose on the less and less economicly valuble the land is thats left, so its highly unlikley that more than 40% of the rainforest will ever be removed by 2040 and by that time brazil will have a fully western standerd of living, and the land thats left will be much less of an impeadment to develupment, so brazil will have the full mony and spaer resoces to fully halt and revers the process, and 60 pecent of the forest is all well need to maintin air quality and the servival of humanity and also prserve quite a bit of the forests uniqueness, so i don’t think its worth going overbored and remadiating the whole world to live in poverty, humans are ment to exploit the resorces we have to take full advantag of the best and easiast opportunities that have been given to us, are quality of life and opportunities fore every one.

    87. 88 Louis
      May 16, 2008 at 06:40

      Fact: Human beeings have no other escape but planet earth to live.
      Fact: Rain forest from the Amazon river is essential to sustain the life on this planet as we know it.
      Fact: So far the counties involved in the region, mainly Brazil, did not and still do not take proper mesures to address the situation.

      Usque tandem Catalina? Hasta cuando? Until when? Jusqu’a quand?
      Let’s not throw mud at each other, North East South or West, there is too much at stake here; any soothing or patronizing talk is superfluous and counterproductive at this point in time. I ask the question…Is there any other solution but to involve the international community under the only common body we have, i mean the United Nation, to face this dilemma? can we really afford to wait? moreover we have a great opportunity here to raise the bar from the usual cruelty and vanity talks that too often distillate from the United nation meetings, and pull in the same sensible direction for a change, let’s save this planet!


    88. 89 Violeta
      May 16, 2008 at 08:37

      Do governments see it from the indegenous point of view?

      people need to eat, for this they must chop down the forest. it is a fact. but if they are changing their traditional land use techniques for a extensive production of cash crops such soy or maize, consequences are:

      – settlers remain poorer, because they can not afford the expensive cost of those extensive production and they can not compete with huge production companies. The efforts for the season failed, the farmer could have put his efforts on his diverse way of cropping. thus, getting constantly its livelihood.

      – after two or tree production period it be likely that soil erosion will happen after monocropping, so the farmer decision will be to clear the next plot of forest and probably try again the same, and this cycle will continuously repeating.

      we are always talking about development, and why not develop the traditional (indigenous) forest managing system in order to protect forest instead of introducing new technologies?

    89. 90 John in Germany
      May 16, 2008 at 08:51

      Well done, top quality radio, i enjoyed Amozon day, day and night.
      A well put together programme, with a lot of entertaining usefull information.

      John in Germany

    90. May 16, 2008 at 12:11

      The key to the solution is to give the forest a value beyond that of timber
      supplies and the short-range financial return from soya and cattle – high
      enough so that both the people who live there and groups involved in
      deforestation want to keep the forests intact.

      We are already implementing one of several projects in the Amazon
      rainforest, through STARO.org (Save The Amazon Rainforest Organisation), a
      UK registered charity (#1116002) with it’s counterpart ICGA also in Brazil.

      STARO.org has, optioned more than 10,000 acres of land near Manaus and
      projects such as fair trade brazil nut gathering and sting-less bee honey
      cultivation are already proving a viable way of sustaining both the forests
      and the native forests dwellers, not to mention other benefits such as
      teaching the skills necessary to for the forests dwellers to maintain their
      new sources of income.

      STARO.org generates funds through “Buy An Acre” on the STARO website and as more funds allow, more rainforest will be purchased for preservation

    91. May 16, 2008 at 12:35

      Not only Amazon. It is high time all countries stop destroying their forest land any furher. The best way of preventing Amazon forest reserve being depleated is to ensure that the population there receive adequate funds for their living and development from the developed world. It is also necessary to ban imports of timber from Amazon similar to the ban on Elephant tusks and animal skins etc.

    92. 93 Roberto
      May 16, 2008 at 23:51

      Only 10% of animals species in the Amazon species are known.

      —– This sounds suspiciously like some kind of whacko-environmontal press release.

      If 90% of animal speicies are unknown, how would they know?

      This is the kind of press that gives legitimate, well researched environmentalists bad names by association.

      There is no doubt the history of man has been partially written in poor stewardship of the environment. Not sure what more can be expected of a people who has largely written it’s history in blood and exploitation.

      Brazil seems to be one of the more advanced environmental states for my money. Like any good neighbor, we expect our neighbors to take care of their properties and fit into the scale of the neighborhood. Any state, business, or person could do better.

      The biggest improvement to the environment would be birth control of the global 3rd world countries.. The 2nd biggest improvement would be responsible development and business practice model of the West and now China. Not holding my breath for either.

      Sorry to be such a pessimist, but 10,000+ yrs of archeological history is one helluva a precedent.

    93. 94 Helena Amazon's owner
      May 17, 2008 at 20:04

      Hi Ros Atkins

      I’m shocked by the nonsenses I’ve read in this debate. There are cavemen that don’t know what means democracy and sovereignty suggesting invasion to our territory, international intervention (by the way, international community means US and Europe, not all the world)… there’s also a lunatic suggesting a nuclear bomb to blow here. Only because we were blessed with our natural resources and we also deserve a better life? Do you really think you are easily going to invade our territory and do to the indigenous and locals the same you’ve done to the aborigenes in Australia or the American indigenous?

      I think you and your mates shouldn’t see the issue only from your point of view. Why is “Have your say” only targetting developing countries like China and Brazil? Why don’t you start talking about what rich countries have not been doing and what they have wrongly done in the past? More than this, it’s morally your responsability to give voice to whom doesn’t have the way to do it.

      We, Brazilians are quiet here, working hard, growing plants while you are trying to grow wars. Don’t you think the rich countries has already spread too much suffering troughout the world? Let the bullies and their nazy thoughts remain in the past.

      More than oxygen, we need peace in this world. Only in a peaceful environment we can sit and talk about something.

    94. 95 Denize Biasotto(Brasil)
      May 17, 2008 at 23:22

      Each country should help. How? Not coming to Brazil but by punishing companies that buy the wood and turn it into forniture, musical instrument, floors, etc…people should care and ask where the wood come from,(including brasilians). Colombia and Bolivia produce cocaine because there are millions os people buying it and paying a high price for it.

    95. 96 selena
      May 18, 2008 at 00:15

      @ Roberto

      “If 90% of animal species are unknown, how would they know?”

      Glad you pointed that out. It never ceases to amaze me how little we question statements made with authority.

      The way to save the environment is to stop human interference. Every time humans seek to control, they end up causing infinitely more damage.

    96. May 18, 2008 at 04:41

      Hi there!
      We Brazilians see many NGOs funded by foreign people (usually from UE)working in Amazon using arguments like the defense of the environment and Indian causes. For many reasons we can´t believe in their sincerity. Obviously they search for the interests of whom pay them. On May 15th the newspaper The Independent published an article(http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-save-the-lungs-of-our-planet-828248.html) concluding that “This part of Brazil (Amazon) is too important to leave to the Brazilians. If we lose the forests, we lose the fight against climate change.” From the things I have seen, I can get to a conclusion: there is a campaign been moved, especially in European countries (even more in England) discussing the capacity of the Brazilians to take care of Amazon. There is there the hide purpose (not so hide) of putting into doubt the Brazilian sovereignty over that area which complete and imense richness is still to be known. This kind of “have your say” comes to confirm what I am saying. Let us Brazilians kindly remember everyone that Brazil has never been, is not and won´t be a colony of the British Empire or any other country. Thank you.

    97. 98 Klaus Georg
      May 18, 2008 at 10:02

      First of all I like to congratulate the BBC that they established the site and how they handle it.
      It’s a nice question and may be we will see a change in the (longer) future. Today each country is watching carefully on it’s resources and claim the right to handle them as they like. Nobody is giving away oil for nothing. If we now start thinking of resources as a need for all human over the world were do we split what is common interest and what single benefit. Or do we start share all resources for all people by a system like established for CO2. Your’s is common and OUR’s is OUR’s may come to some limits.
      Regards Klaus

    98. 99 Márcio Rangel (Salvador, Bahia - Brasil)
      May 18, 2008 at 20:50

      All these debates about Amazon forest only let’me conclude what I’ve already known. Some calls conspiracy, others may call international worries about the environmenatal and I say a lie said many times seems to be the only truth. There’s one thing to be clear. The Amazon is part of Brazilian territory, and it must be managed by brazilians acording to brazilian laws. I have read some inteligent posts in here, but some were disgusting. I will let in this forum the response of a great brazilian, Senator Cristóvan Buarque, when asked about the internalization of the Amazonia. This question was made by an american student during a debate in an american University and I think there wouldn’t be a better response that that:

      “During a debate in an American University, the ex-governor of the Federal District, Cristovam Buarque, was questioned on his thoughts on the internationalization of Amazonia. The young American man introduced his question by saying he expected the answer of a humanist and not of a Brazilian.This was the answer of Mr.Cristovam Buarque:
      “In fact, as a Brazilian I would simply speak against the internationalization of Amazonia. As much as our governments have neglected this patrimony, it is ours.
      As a humanist, assessing the risk of environmental degradation of Amazonia, I can contemplate its internationalization, as well as of everything else that is of importance to humanity.
      If Amazonia, in the point of view of humanist ethics, must be internationalized, the world oil reserves should also be internationalized. Oil is as important to the well-being of humanity as is Amazonia. Despite that, the owners of the oil reserves feel they have the right to increase or decrease oil production and manipulate its price.

      In the same fashion, the financial capital of the rich countries should be internationalized. If Amazonia is a patrimony for all human beings, it should not be burnt based on the decision of one owner, or of one country.

      The burning of Amazonia is as serious as unemployment caused by arbitrary decisions of global speculators.

      We cannot allow financial reserves to be used to burn out entire countries in the aftermath of speculation. Before the internationalization of Amazonia, I would like to see the internationalization of all the great musems of the world.

      The Louvre should not belong only to France. Each museum is a guardian of the most beautiful pieces produced by human intellect.
      One should not allow this cultural patrimony, in the same way as the natural patrimony of Amazonia, to be manipulated and destroyed by an act of a single owner or country.
      Not long ago, a Japanese millionaire decided to have a painting of a great master buried alongside him.
      Prior to that decision, the painting should have been internationalized.
      At present, the United Nations are hosting the Forum of the Millennium but some heads of state had problem attending due to difficulties with immigration. For this reason, I think that New York, as the location of the United Nations headquarters, should be internationalized. At least Manhattan should belong to all Humanity.
      The same way as Paris, Venice, Rome, London, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Recife, each city with its unique beauty, its world history, should belong to the whole world.
      If the United States wants to internationalize Amazonia to avoid the risk of leaving it in the hands of Brazilians, let us also internationalize the nuclear arsenals of the United States.
      The United States have shown that they are capable of using nuclear weapons, which cause destructions thousand times greater than the unfortunate destruction caused by the burning of the forests in Brazil.
      During political debates, the current candidates to the presidency of the United States have defended the idea of internationalizing the world forest reserves in exchange for foreign debt. The foreign debt could be used to guarantee that each child of the World is allowed to EAT and attend school.
      We should internationalize children, treating all of them, regardless their country of origin, as patrimonies that deserve to be preserved by the whole world.
      They are more deserving than Amazonia.
      When the heads of state start treating the poor children of the world as patrimonies of humanity, they will not allow these children to work when they should be studying, to die when they should live.
      As humanist, I accept to defend the internationalization of the world.
      But as long as the world treat me as a Brazilian, I will fight to keep Amazonia ours.
      Ours alone!”

      …think of it…It’s the same thing of let some strangers take some bath at your pool in a hot and sunny weekend just because they think you don’t own the pool. It’s a everybody pool…not yours!
      …I think there is so much to be discussed about the changing in the world weather and I think we should be more responsible about what we say and what we do.

      I wish a good week for all around the world!

      Salvador, bahia – Brazil.

    99. 100 Vanini, Brasil
      May 19, 2008 at 12:26

      Amazon rainforest is ours!!!

    100. 101 Bruno Soldi
      May 19, 2008 at 15:39

      Amazonia is a brazilian territory, so Brasil can honestly do whatever he wants with it, it’s not like any country of Europe or North America cared for their florests when they were expanding their urban areas.
      The thing about Amazonia is that the other countries doesn’t look it like a place that has to be preserved, but as a golden mine, a place full of new things to explore, it’s not like they aren’t doing it right now, biopiracy at that place have been happening for years, an example of this is the so called “Maglev”, the japanese magnetic train, that uses a amazonian clay on his track.

    101. 102 Pelé
      May 20, 2008 at 03:07

      The Guianas are brazilian!
      They will come back to us!

    102. 103 Ivan Bustamante
      May 20, 2008 at 12:38

      The Amazon Rain Forest belongs to the south american countries. The US and Europe have no right to tell these countries what to do, once they have already destroyed their homelands and contributed to the destruction of other ecosystems!

    103. 104 Felipe Rugani
      May 20, 2008 at 12:38

      It’s pretty simple: Europe, US and other countries have destroied all their natural resources all over the last decades. Way just now they are concerned about the climate? Simple: because now they can get some billions on this deal.
      Their concern is just about other countries, not about their OWN SOURCE OF POLUTION.


    104. May 20, 2008 at 21:51


      Dont chop it all down! whats the point in that??

    105. 106 Keagan
      May 20, 2008 at 23:50


      Dont pollute it all?

      No…it isn’t the point..

    106. 107 Jessaka
      May 26, 2008 at 06:36

      i think it is very shocking what is happening to the rainforest and i am 11 and doing a report on it.

      i have found from those facts that the rainforest is in danger and does need help and Global Warming isn’t helping. And if there are no more rainforests then no more Humans!!

      So i think that we should try and do something to help the rainforest.

    107. 108 Rodrigo
      June 3, 2008 at 15:01

      It’s so funny to read people writing “who are in the west to say…”.
      They talk as if Brazil weren’t part of the West, as if Brazil weren’t settled by the Portuguese, who are also part of the West.
      The way you talk, people, only USA and UK are the West. And some of you are gutsy enough to criticize arrogance! How hypocrite!

    108. June 11, 2008 at 04:11

      i really think that people shud start doing rather than just thinking…. its us who started this , and its us who are gonna stop it!other dominion countries are just forcing in their views for amazon.. we elect our own govt. , but we’re not only to say (or rather start doing)anything.

    109. 110 Karen
      August 14, 2008 at 01:28

      If international countries do internacionalize the Amazon forest what are their plans to make a sustainable management? And what is the position of the pharmaceutical industry and others? What will the industries do to explore the Amazon in a sustainable way?

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