Panama: A Blogger’s view of Smithsonian symposium

A Blogger reaction to the symposium that created the New York Times article here:

Saving the rainforests has long been a pet cause of environmentalists,
but now some scientists are coming forward and saying “fuck ’em.” A
new debate on the role of ancient rainforests in world ecology and
global warming has sprung up, with some sides arguing that the fast
growing new-growth forests in South America are just as valuable. But
what about the people actually living there?

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According to one Panamanian woman who used to clear the forests near
her home for farming, but now gets her food at a supermarket: “There
is far more forest here than there was 30 years ago.” Thanks,
indigenous-person! Then there’s the ubiquitous field-worker, all
sweaty and squinty from his bucolic pastimes:  “Gumercinto Vásquez, a
stooped casual laborer who was weeding a field in Chilibre in the
blistering sun, said it had become hard for him to find work because
so many farms had been abandoned. ‘Very few people around here are
farming these days,’ he said.” Ignoring the fact that approximately
zero Panamanian scientists were interviewed for the study, what do
other scientists think of this chic “new growth” forest? Well, there
are a few camps. Two senior scientists at the Smithsonian Institute
flat out disagree with each other over the importance of new-growth.

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