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The International Writers Magazine
:The Environment - The Future of Trees in Brazil.

It’s a wonderful world
Gabriela Davies watches Brazil's Rainforest disappear

The idea that animals and plants are sacred seems to be one that has long ceased to exist. It will take the Brazilian government approximately half a century to finish building the Transamazonian Highway, the three-thousand mile long road that goes from the state of Para, in Central Brazil, to the Peruvian border. The unfinished highway was initiated in 1970 by the Brazilian military government and is still not even halfway done.

As I open my eyes to the bare ceiling above me, my hands reach over to my notebook. I work for the Greenpeace committee, and have been in the Amazon rainforest for over two weeks now. I still feel that initial excitement every time I leave my cabin and make my way over to the main house. This is where our breakfast is served. Not the typical watermelon and freshly squeezed orange juice, no; the wooden table is a feast of so many different fruits and colours, so many different flavours, it is difficult to know where to start. I try a new type of fruit every day, each exquisite flavour I taste is followed by a rational explanation, in broken English, on why I should always eat that particular food. Graviola looks more like a strange obese cucumber, but is delicious and apparently cures diabetes, says the native Indian who shyly serves me my food.

It is strange to think that in a matter of years this fifteen-year-old girl might be working in a MacDonald’s, as she barely knows the use of bread. Here in Tucurui the children are awestruck when they seen a carton of milk. It is located in the deepest part of the rainforest, and it is towns like this one, on the border of the Tocantins river, that will soon be developed into villages on the outskirts of the big Transamazonian Highway.

The effects that this major construction has had on the country, and, as a matter of fact, on the world, are endless: deforestation of one of the biggest rainforests in the world; pollution, contributing to the destruction of the ozone layer; it opened the Amazon region to colonization. Meaning that the Brazilian government now has yet another region to take care of, to supply for, another 1.5 million people to educate and feed.

The truth of the matter is that the development of areas untouched by mankind, and which are the few preserved areas still remaining on the planet, is not a good idea. If goods can be transported by sea, why build a road acrossland for them to get to their destination even faster? Why the hurry? It seems we are in a rush to get to the future. The future, my friends, is here and burning beside the roa. It doesn’t look that good.

Around 8,920 square miles to 9,420 square miles (23,100 sq km to 24,400 sq km), or an area bigger than New Jersey USA, was cut down in 2004, said Joao Paulo Capobianco, the government's secretary of biodiversity and forests. Want to know more?
© Gabriela Davies December 6th 2004

Gabriela is Creative Arts student from Brazil studying at Portsmouth University

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