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Monday, April 7, 2008

Amazon Queen

All right, excessive title maybe - but catchy, certainly. It's an inspiring story anyhow.

Al Jazeera reports on the life of Marina Silva, Brazilian Minister of Enviroment, in charge of the protection of most of the Amazon rainforest. It's pretty interesting: she was born in a seringueiro family, who extracted rubber from wild trees in regime of semi-slavery, she used to be an illiterate maid who lernt to read and write in just 15 days when she was 17. Inspired by Chico Mendes, the seringueiro enviromentalist and social leader who was murdered by landowners' death squads in 1988, she took up the cause of the Jungle and now she is in charge of its protection.

Her boss, President Luis Inázio Lula da Silva, is also from modest extraction: he was a shoe-shiner before becoming politician.

Marina Silva in her youth

She says:
The Amazon forest lost 17 per cent of its vegetation in the last 400 years but the majority of this deforestation was done in the past 30 or 40 years.

That is why it is necessary to change the course of the process of development that has been happening in the region and take it into a new direction. Reduce the level of deforestation, and make a change in the model of development that has been implemented.

We need to bring a new paradigm where the standing forest is more valuable and viable than cutting the forest for other economic activities. That is possible.

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