December 22, 2008 [LINK / comment]

Remembering Chico Mendes

It's a very good sign that Brazil is taking note of the 20th anniversary of the murder of environmental activist Chico Mendes, who resisted agribusiness interests who pillaged the Amazon rain forest, and continue to do so today. He was a farmer who rallied Indian communities that made a living by tapping rubber trees in a natural setting, rather than in a monoculture plantation, thereby balancing economic advancement with sustaining the eco-system. See BBC.

Concern for Nature is usually a luxury that only wealthy people and nations can afford, but as Brazil makes progress in economic development, its political culture is maturing as well. The Brazilian government has announced plans to slow down deforestation, but there is a big difference between hopes and actual deeds. Let's hope that enough Brazilians go the next step and actually do something to save what is left of the irreplaceable arboreal resource in the tropics.