Brazil backtracks on plan to open up Amazon forest to mining.

by ar3210 on October 6, 2017 - 6:23pm

When we think of the Amazon rainforest, most people think of beautiful green forests, colourful animals, and the sound of rain bouncing off the leaves. The article I chose is called ‘Brazil backtracks on plan to open up Amazon forest to mining’ written by Johnathan Watts.

The article discusses a proposed plan by the Brazilian president, Michael Temer, to destroy part of a reserve in the Amazon rainforest in order to allow mining companies access to the forest resources. This plan, however, was denied by a congressional judge and was called the ‘biggest attack on the Amazon in 50 years”. The purpose of this media piece was to discuss the proposed plan and outline the environmental damage that was to occur had the plan gone through, as well as to discuss the president and how his leadership is a direct attack on the environment. The main actors described include the president, who is pro-deforestation, and organizations such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, as well as the judge who denied the plans, who are anti-deforestation. Evidence provided included stating that there are already 14 illegal mines in the targeted reserve, and that expanding mining areas would cause environmental problems associated with these projects to escalate. Furthermore, additional evidence is given when the actions of president Temer involvement in the mining industry were discussed, indicating that he has little concern for both environmental wellbeing and indigenous rights.

This article brings forth two ideas of conflict: that of value and behaviour. Value conflict is shown by how varying people value environmental resources very differently. In this example, the Brazilian president values natural resources based solely off an economic value and doesn’t think about how their extraction would lead to environmental degradation. He sees the mining industry in terms of profit margins and job creation, as opposed to seeing it as a natural ecosystem being destroyed. Critics of the mining plan see it differently and are not willing to allow the environment to be destroyed in search of economic gains. While recognizing that mining does provide economic resources, they don’t believe the earth should be sacrificed for us to make money. This perfectly outlines an issue of differing values in resource management, creating conflict between parties with opposite opinions. Furthermore, behaviour conflict is shown because many people hold feelings of mistrust towards Brazilian government as a result of their past environmental wrongdoings. When a leader shows little regard to the safety of the environment and the people living within it, people are less likely to trust him in current endeavours because of his past behaviour.

Lastly, this article does very little to comment on how these proposed mining expansions would impact aboriginal Brazilian communities who rely on this land for their survival and how the indigenous worldview must be considered. Many indigenous tribes believe that human society and needs are less important than those of the natural world, and that the surrounding environment should be treated with upmost respect. The article tells us of three indigenous tribes who would be affected by the mining project, who are the Aparai, Wayana and Wajapi tribes. It is common knowledge that tribes rely heavily on the land with which they reside, and this land is an aspect of their cultures. Before any such expansion should be allowed to occur, the indigenous residents should be consulted with and their opinions taken into consideration.

The Brazilian Amazon is under attack by plans to tear down parts of the forest and mine for underground resources. This brings forward many conflicting opinions between pro and anti-deforestation believers, as different people hold different values. Furthermore, past behaviour of the Brazilian president created feelings of mistrust in regards to environmental protection. Lastly, the opinions of indigenous tribes should be thoroughly respected and listened to.