Usually people feel connected with the environment that are close to the place they grew up or they are currently living. Along the following lines, I’ll be writing about the environmental changes of a place that touch my heart.A wonder of nature in my country that is been shared with another eight countries.
I was born in the southwestern part of Colombia, raised in the centre of the country and actually leaving in the northwest. The four cities where I have lived are located among the Andes range. In any case, I had been just ones in my life in the Colombian part of the Amazon, which cover almost the complete southern part of the country (further south from where I was born). Visit the area is possible just by plane; due the topography there is no road access. From the capital of the country it will take 2 hours to land in the biggest city in the Colombian Amazon region. The same two hours needed to connect Vienna with Istanbul or Vienna with Malta.
The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining, and comprises the largest and most biodiverse tract of tropical rainforestin the world, with an estimated 390 billion individual trees divided into 16,000 species (1). The first image in my mind about the Amazon, it was when I was about to land, and I could just see thousand of treetops that saw from the air looked like small broccolis. It is a beautiful place that have an enormous important for the environmental balance of the whole ecosystems of earth. Because is the only rainforest that we have left in terms of size and diversity, is the biggest natural transformer of carbon dioxide that positive influences controlling the local and regional climates. The Amazon River is the largest river by of water in the world and cross just three of the nine Amazon countries: Peru, Colombia and Brasil. Those countries have a double responsibility in the protection of the whole Amazon ecosystem which includes the rainforest and the river.
Knowing its worldwide importance, the Amazon rainforest together with the Amazon River must be protected and should be at least one of the environmental priorities of the 9 countries involved. An active international cooperation is needed to help to promote and maintain the environmental conservation of the Amazon. But nevertheless, a political problem is lacking this process. There is a miss coordination regarding the national policies to protect the Amazon. For example, the regulation regarding logging in some of the Amazon countries is very permissive, or there are not heavy penalties imposed on those who by their actions help to deforest the Amazon. This is actually what I saw on my visit, the indigenous people who lived in the Colombian part of the Amazon were complaining about the massive logging in the Brazilian part of the rainforest that is affecting the Amazon River.
Brazil so far is the country who has more and destroys more the Amazon. According to the Living Planet Report 2010, Since 1970, over 600,000 square kilometers (230,000 sq mi) of the Amazon rainforest have been destroyed. The illegal logging is increasing, problem that is connected with some corruption scandals. As an example, in her initial run for president, in 2010, Dilma Rousseff pledged a zero-tolerance policy for deforestation. But, according to fear side, once in office she allied herself with the so-called ruralist bloc, a coalition of wealthy farmers and agribusinesses that helped rewrite the country’s land-use laws in their own favor (2).
Besides the cooperation that has been taken at the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), none of the Amazon countries has effective tools to obligate the Brazilian government to be stricter regarding the protection of the Amazon. The Colombian government is been working hard in its Amazon over the last ten years. A lot of improvements have been made, however to see truly positives impacts a deeper cooperation and coordination is needed.
Returning to the impressions of my trip, what were the feelings that absorb me when I visit the Colombian part of the Amazon and the Amazon River? I was captivated by the magnificence its overwhelming different tones of green, but also I felt powerless because I know the rainforest is decreasing rapidly, and mainly because of the actions of its biggest holder “Brazil”.
I think I have the same feeling over other environments. In a world of almost 7 billion people, single thoughts and acts are useless; a real change required collective actives. That is the common phrase used as a solution. The question is: who is actually acting collectedly? I don’t think that much are doing it. Personally I’m not part of any social movement, organization or political party. As the rest of the people is like me, I guess for all of us, the common feeling regarding the environmental damaged it will be impotence.
By: Jessica Delgado Agredo
- 2. Field Museum scientists estimate 16,000 tree species in the Amazon” Field Museum. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.