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We Must Save the Brazilian Rainforest

The Brazilian Rainforest is one of the most unique, vast, and diverse regions of the world. To get a general idea of the diversity of the Rainforest, it makes up a total of one-third of the world forests (more than four million square kilometers), it contains half of the total number of named species in the world (eighty-thousand plant species, 1,500 fish species, and one-forth of the 8,600 bird species), and is the world largest holder of genes (Library 138-139). To say the least, the Brazilian Rainforest is one of the most important natural resources we, as humans, know. It would seem that this knowledge, alone, would also make the Brazilian Rainforest one of the most protected land areas on Earth as well. However, the situation is quite the opposite. The Brazilian Rainforest has been greatly degraded by deforestation since the 1960 , which has led to numerous negative effects both environmentally and socially. This paper introduces the events that opened the door to deforestation, the most immediate causes and effects of deforestation in the Brazilian Rainforest, and my two-part solution to the problem of deforestation.

Following a brief introduction of the history of the development of Brazil, I have broken the paper into five sections; each section is dedicated to one of the five main contributing factors of deforestation. The five main contributors are cattle ranching, farming, logging, infrastructure development, and weaknesses in the government. In each section I will discuss how each factor effects the environment and Brazil at large.

Brazil’s rainforest became more heavily populated and invaded by migrants when the Brazilian government ncouraged settlement and development” (Crittenden 3) to bri…

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…; Anonymous. “The Two Faces of the Brazilian Policy on Forests.” Online posting. 20 Dec. 2000 ;;

Binswanger, Hans P. “Brazilian Policies that Encourage Deforestation of the Amazon.” World Development. 19.7 (1991): 821-829

Cockburn, Alexander and Susanna Hecht. The Fate of the Forest: Developers, Destroyers, and Defenders of the Amazon. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1990.

Crittenden, Elisabeth A. “Amazon Deforestation and Brazilian Land Problems.” Online posting. Amazon Deforestation, Land Violence. 18 Dec. 2000;

Reid, Michael. “Still Chopping.” The Economist. 355.8 (2000): 36

Time Life Books Inc. Library of Nations: Brazil. United States and Canada: Time Life Books, 1986.

The Environment and Big Business

Since the rise of environmental awareness, business and industry have always considered environmentalism a waste of time, only getting in the way of profits and production. From the perspective of business, environmentalists push for regulations and restrictions on businesses which cost them more money and frequently restrict some of their practices. What business an the economy doesn’t know is that they can actually save money by being environmentally responsible, while protecting the very resources they depend on . The protection of the environment not only has intrinsic value, but also economical value. Business and industry, can also benefit. These factors can lead to a newly developed economy that protects what it needs instead of destroying it. Despite historical differences between advocates of business and the environment, the fact is the two can and must utilize eachother for the future success of both.

It is important, in order for the economy to see the environment worth something, to put an economic value on it. For this reason, a group of scientists for the Center for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment have developed an economic valuation for the environment. According to them, it is necessary to impute a value to environmental goods or services (Pearce et al, online). This value is necessary because the economy needs to see that the protection of the environment can prove cost worthy to business and industry. The purpose of valuation is to show true costs of using up scarce environmental resources. It is a way for environmentalists and economists to put a dollar figure on the services the environment provides. Robert Costanza, an ecological economist from the University of Maryland, has done just this. The estimate of services provided by ecosystems worldwide is 33 trillion dollars annually, surpassing the gross national product of al the countries on earth combined by eight trillion dollars (Zimmer 105). The environment provides services not only commercially, such as timber, but also in less visible ways. For instance, forests protect from soil erosion, which proves costly to correct. With these facts in mind, depleting ecosystems an resources proves costly, while protection them can only save money.

Business and the American economy has much to gain by altering their current practices. One prime example of how protection the environment can prove beneficial to a company is a program created by 3M called Pollution Prevention Pays.

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