Friday, October 20, 2006

Nationalism and Environment in Brazil

Hey, I can talk about Brazil too...

Brazil has responded quite harshly to rumors of foreign nations buying parts of the Amazon to conserve it.

Brazil believes, and I'm trying not to bust out laughing as I write this, that they are the best caretakers of the Amazon.

This is clearly ridiculuous. Brazil wants no international control over its rainforests because it wants to exploit them as much as possible, without realizing that in the long-term, there is more money to make from ecotourism than logging. But of course that tourism money is not going to go to the oligarchs in nearly the boatloads as logging and cattle.

For all the downsides of globalization, one potential upside is that nations can band together and help preserve vital ecosystems. But the Lula presidency seems to me, and no doubt Mr. Trend can comment on this with much more authority, to be looking back to the nationalistic movements of the 50s-70s that focused a lot on land reforms that would give a lot of people access. While that sounds good, doing so almost always results in an environmental disaster. The best recent example is Zimbabwe, where Mugabe's attacks on white landowners has led to more people having more land, but has not helped out poverty one bit, while decimating wildlife populations.

I wish Brazil would not respond so negatively to these proposals and come to realize that they have one of the Earth's greatest resources and that they can exploit this resource economically through tourism while doing much less damage to the landscape.