Brazil: When the destroyers begin to realize they must undestroy
“Nobody wants to have problems with the environment. And we have a cast of farmers who want to solve their problems and sleep soundly at night,” Bertinatto Copetti says.
Darci Eichelt cleared and plowed as much land as he could when he first arrived in Lucas do Rio Verde in central Mato Grosso state more than 20 years ago. Now, a sea of soybeans covers his 6,000 acres, as in all the surrounding farms in Lucas. Eichelt says people like him are proud of being pioneers who built a tiny outpost in the middle of an oven-hot mosaic of savannas and forests. Today, Lucas is a far different place, one that’s a lot like Iowa. The town is filled with mom-and-pop stores, grain silos and a dealership selling John Deere and Casey tractors. The fields beyond are plowed with cash crops as far as the eye can see. It’s one of the most prosperous farm towns in a big, booming country. It’s also the epicenter of what could be an environmental revolution. On a recent day, Eichelt walks to the edge of his farm, toward a clump of trees. They are trees he is now planting, where he could be growing soybeans. In fact, Eichelt is setting aside one-third of his farm for native vegetation. “Can you imagine all this in 10 years? It’s going to be beautiful. All these trees growing, and fruits and seeds will turn into a very attractive place for birds,” he says. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121095308&ft=1&f=1025