I know that for most of my life I’ve imagined the Amazon as an expansive, untouched wilderness that is filled with an astonishing diversity of creatures, some unique among every other species on earth. As it turns out, although some of this assessment is fairly accurate, several of the assumptions I’ve made about the Amazon are not particularly accurate. Perhaps most importantly, the Amazon is not untouched. I recently watched a Vox YouTube video detailing how the expansion of Brazilian agricultural and forestry industries has impacted protected indigenous lands within the rainforest. Many tribes have lived on the same land within the rainforest for hundreds of years but in the mid-to-late 1900s, their lands began to be constricted by a booming industrial sector that thrived off the abundant natural resources of the Amazon.
Fortunately, the Brazilian government acted, protecting their historic lands. However, industries have cleared significant swaths of rainforest surrounding these lands, leaving only the tribes’ small pockets of land as the remaining rainforest in some areas. The political tides in Brazil have swung toward a reduction in rainforest production in recent years. FUNAI, the government agency dedicated to the Amazon’s protection, has had its budget significantly reduced. Further, enforcement of many existing laws regarding the Amazon’s protection has been either reduced or eliminated. As a consequence of these changes, illegal encroachments into natives’ lands by many industries have skyrocketed, specifically within the last year. These encroachments are frequently accompanied by threats warning against retaliation, leaving the native population frightened and unsure of where to turn.
I would argue that it is simple to understand that the Amazon is an invaluable natural resource – one that is essential to the world’s climate. The Amazon is an irreplaceable natural wonder – and for that reason only ought to be protected. Further, those whose heritage is within the rainforest should have that heritage protected – they should be able to live upon their land without fear of having their home taken away. To anyone who is interested in learning more about this issue, I’ll attach the links to the videos used in reference to this video – I hope you all find them as informative and interesting as I did.
“Brazil’s Indigenous Land is being Invaded” — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGjRNbXeRXI
“The Destruction of the Amazon, Explained” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAZAKPUQMw0