What Everybody Needs to Know About the Amazon
The Amazon rainforest is one of the biggest forests on the planet. It contains large biodiversity and
While this might sound evident to most people, unfortunately it's not the case in reality. The Amazon rainforest is in reality seriously endangered with heavy deforestation and pollution. The consequences of these actions aren't just the loss of biodiversity but they also affect the lives of many people every day in a way unknown to most people in developed countries.
Deforestation is the biggest danger to the Amazon. The entirety of the Amazon rainforest lies on the territory of industrially developing nations that are in desperate need of resources to drive their economies. The rainforest comes in very handy for this purpose. Politicians of these countries acknowledge the natural hazards of deforestation but they claim that for the well-being of their country they have no choice then to export logs and products manufactured from wood.
The statistics regarding the deforestation of the Amazon are very terrifying. If someone claims the contrary then please refer to the following statistics: Since 1970 around 20% of the rainforest has been cut down; every year the rate of deforestation of the Amazon is increasing considerably despite international pressures; the total area of current deforestation is almost of the size of Texas or almost two times that of Peru.
So, not matter what kind of information you read before this, the message that the data above conveys is very terrifying. And if you think that it's not a problem since new trees are being planted in the place of the old ones then you are wrong. The deforested areas are being used as pastures or agricultural land, meaning no new trees will be planted whatsoever.
Amazon watch already pointed out on multiple occasions that if deforestation continues it will soon reach a point where the forest will not be able to recover anymore.
Pollution is another serious concern to the biodiversity of the rainforest. With the industrialization of countries like Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia the rainforest is seriously engendered through the use of fertilizers, pesticides and other chemical compounds. Not only do these kill wildlife and insect live, they also have a negative effect on people's health.
Indigenous People of the Amazon
What most people actually aren't aware of is that the Amazon rainforest is populated by a large number of indigenous tribes and peoples. Most people would think that deforestation and the other enumerated problems don't affect these people since their rights are respected. In reality this is totally wrong.
Governments of the countries owning partitions of the rainforest have shown numerous times that they have no regard whatsoever to the rights of indigenous people and tribes. Often tribes will simply be evacuated from the areas that are supposed to be deforested without the right to appeal or compensation. Protests are usually met with violence by the police or even the military.
The Story of the Achuar People
Perhaps the most affected Amazonian people are the Achuar. The Achuar comprises of around 18,500 individuals dispersed between the borders of Ecuador and Peru. The Achuar are one of the last people that weren't completely wiped out or assimilated due to the negative effects of the deforestation of the rainforest.
The Achuar are an old people with a long tradition and unique customs. They are part of the cultural heritage of these countries but the recent developments in deforestation and pollution are heavily affecting their lifestyle and future.
The lifestyle of the Achuar completely depends on their surroundings such as the forest and rivers. This makes then extremely vulnerable since once these natural surroundings disappear basically they would not be able to maintain their lifestyle. And were aren't just talking about maintaining ancient traditions and customs, it's about actual survival, since the natural surroundings are actually what ensure food and shelter, or in other words, the survival of these people.
Deforestation is the biggest danger to these people. They incidentally live in an area that is targeted by the government of both countries for economic deforestation. The constant intrusion of agriculture and thus pollution into their lands also endanger the rivers and their wildlife that are since ancient times used as fishing grounds by the Achuar.
So bottom line is that for the Achuar it's about life and death really. And unfortunately without outside help these people will not be able to win this battle. This is why Amazonwatch spends a great deal of time and resources raising awareness of this problem, trying to determine people from all around the globe to contribute and aid this cause.