Brazil: Unlimited ‘economic development’ to rare indigenous cultures is called Genocide

Unbridled economic development fueled by globalization are devastating
large swathes of the Amazonian basin, the United Nations warned in a
major study released Wednesday. A population explosion concentrated in
poorly planned cities, deforestation driven by foreign markets for
timber, cash crops and beef, and unprecedented levels of pollution
have all taken a heavy toll on the planet’s largest forest basin, the
United Nations Environment Programme said.

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The report, which pooled research by more than 150 experts from the
eight countries that straddle Amazonia, acknowledged that these
governments have individually taken steps to address environmental
degradation. But coordinated action is urgently needed to stem and
possible reverse the damage, it said. Trends to date are not
encouraging. By 2005, the region had lost more than 17 percent of its
forests — 875,000 square kilometers (331,000 square miles), an area
larger than Pakistan or France.

While the rate of deforestation has slowed since then, another 11,224 square kilometers (4,333 square miles) disappeared in 2007 in Brazil alone. “If the loss of forests exceeds 30 percent of the vegetation cover, then rainfall levels will decrease,” the report said. “This will produce a vicious circle that favours forest burning, reduces water vapour release and increases smoke emissions into the atmosphere.” Internal migration and the unplanned expansion of urban zones are also serious threats to the Amazonian environment, the report concluded.

The region today counts some 35 million people, nearly 65 percent of them in cities, including three with more than one million inhabitants. Changes in land use patterns — including a ten-fold increase in the road network over three-decades — have also led to fragmentation of natural ecosystems and an alarming drop in biodiversity. Water resources are also threatened, the report cautioned. About 20 percent of the world’s fresh water spills into the Amazonian basin — some 15,000 cubic kilometres (3,600 cubic miles) each year. The lack of coordinated management has made it difficult to control the human activities damaging water quality: pollution from industrial-scale mining, oil spills, chemicals used in agriculture, and solid waste from the cities. Global demand for commodities — timber, cattle, bio-fuel crops, minerals — have also led to over-exploitation of natural resources.

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