Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Observe World Wildlife Day 2021 by watching Vox's three-part series on the Amazon rainforest

Happy World Wildlife Day! The official World Wildlife Day website describes this year's theme.
On March 3 2021, World Wildlife Day will celebrate forest-based livelihoods and seek to promote forest and forest wildlife management models and practices that accommodate both human well-being and the long-term conservation of forests, forest-dwelling species of wild fauna and flora and the ecosystems they sustain, and promote the value of traditional practices and knowledge that contribute to establishing a more sustainable relationship with these crucial natural systems.
When I searched for videos about the importance of forests, I retrieved Vox's three-part series on the Amazon rainforest from November 2019. The three videos cover nearly all topics mentioned by World Wildlife Day, which is a creation of the United Nations, so I'm sharing them, beginning with The destruction of the Amazon, explained.

This is Part 1 of Vox Atlas: The Amazon, a three-part series about the world's largest rainforest, why it's in jeopardy, and the people trying to save it.
The Amazon rainforest has been reduced by about 17% since the 1970s. Cattle ranchers, loggers, and farmers are mostly to blame for the deforestation, but the demand driving them comes from all around the world. Brazil's economy depends on agriculture, especially beef and soy, which is grown on cleared land in the Amazon. Today, president Jair Bolsonaro, is weakening the environmental protections there in order to give agriculture more power. This came to a head when, in summer 2019, more than 30,000 wildfires burned in the Amazon, sparking worldwide outrage.
This video serves as an example of Commoner's Laws in action, especially everything is connected to everything else, in particular how deforestation is connected to the global food system. Another connection is that I recommend Mongabay, one of the sources for Vox's graphs, to my environmental science students as a resource for extra credit.

Part 2 presents more of the Amazon's environmental history, The war for the Amazon's most valuable trees.

The Amazon rainforest has faced encroachment and deforestation for a long time. But it wasn’t until Brazil’s military dictatorship came to power in the 1970s that deforestation spiked, becoming a big business in the Amazon. When that expansion reached the state of Acre, it met resistance. Chico Mendes, a rubber tapper from the region, took the fight to protect the Amazon from the depths of the rainforest to the global stage. In the process, he gave his life. But the fight he started lives on.

To understand the history of the Amazon and how Chico Mendes changed the course of that history, watch the video above, our second episode of Atlas’ Amazon miniseries.
The opening of the video reminds me that I mentioned the importance of rubber in Great Lakes cities and their roles in the regional economy, which tied for the fourth most saved pin from this blog last month.
It was pretty natural that North America’s manufacturing would be centered on the Great Lakes, as all of the natural resources required for making things out of steel were there–iron ore, coal, and lime–and the entire region was connected by a vast natural waterway, making shipping cheap. All that was needed to make cars was imported rubber.
Once again, this video shows that everything is connected to everything else, in this case, manufacturing, cars, and defense are all connected to rubber and the Amazon rainforest. Part 2 of the series also demonstrates two more of Commoner's Laws, nature knows best and there is no free lunch, which are also two of the lessons from Part 3, Brazil's indigenous land is being invaded.

And the president is part of the problem.
Brazil has over 900,000 indigenous people, most of whom live in the Amazon. After centuries of persecution, they were given extensive rights under a new Constitution in the 1980s, including the right to claim and win back their traditional lands. Since then, hundreds of indigenous lands have been demarcated and protected by the Brazilian government.

But in the last few years, those lands have come under attack by landowners, ranchers, loggers, and farmers who want access to the resources inside these indigenous lands. And since Jair Bolsonaro became president, the number of invasions into indigenous lands has skyrocketed.
Much to my surprise, I hadn't watched this video before today. Researching today's entry finally got me to view it and I'm glad I did. Speaking of which, watching this series reminded me of my liberal identity.
You are an Eco-Avenger, also known as an environmentalist or tree hugger. You believe in saving the planet from the clutches of air-fouling, oil-drilling, earth-raping conservative fossil fools.
It also reminds me that authoritarians are a threat to the environment everywhere on the planet, even if they, like Jair Bolsonaro, aren't strictly "fossil fools."

That's it for today's environmental observance. Stay tuned for a celebration of one of my other passions tomorrow, Marching Music Day. March Forth!

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