A $Greener$ Today for a Dryer Tomorrow...

by Username on March 13, 2018 - 11:31pm

  “The Amazon effect: how deforestation is starving São Paulo of Water” by reporter Jonathan Watts of The Guardian, goes into detail on one of the often-unknown side effects of the Amazonian deforestation problem. While this major issue often goes unpublished thanks to the significant efforts of the profiting companies, more and more of the Amazon is being replaced by empty lots, devoid of trees and life. Most will know that this will cause many species to go extinct, as so many have in recent decades, however this is far from the only side effect. Thousands of miles away from the trees’ roots, the effects of this life-giving rainforest’s suffering are felt through the medium of rain. As its classification so apply implies, the Amazon owes its biological richness to is rainy and humid environment, and thanks to evapotranspiration, “[It] creates a movement of water. If you could follow a molecule of water, you would see that most of the clouds that are over São Paulo have passed across the Amazon. If the forest is cut, we’ll be in trouble.” (Watts, 2018) As Watts explains, in 2014-15, São Paolo experienced the worst drought in its history. During the 12 months of their drought, they experienced 50 % less rainfall than their previous worst drought period. This is one of the worlds biggest cities, sitting at just over 21 million people, and experts from the supplying water company Sabesp stated that the metropolis has come more than close to a major breakdown. Surrounding municipalities were subjected to “fighting, theft, looting of emergency water truck, their taps flowed only a few hours ever four days…” (Watts, 2018) In the worst of locations people even took to breaking into houses simply to look for water. Stores like Starbucks stopped selling coffee and only offered canned beverages and bottles beer, restaurants (including the fancy ones) started using paper plates and plastic utensils. The cause of all these issues? The ever-increasing deforestation of the Amazon rainforests. Since then, several companies have taken to draft possible fail safes in the event of another drought, from planting thousands of acres of trees to building hundreds of kilometers of pipes to connect them to more water reservoirs. However, many believe this to either to little, or to late. The local and federal government have done little more than talk since then, and solutions have for the most part solely focused on coping rather than preventing (such as cutting as little of the forests as possible by reducing demand and supply) (Watts, 2018). Which leads to the conclusion that this is becoming an increasingly alarming issue. Since 2015, the Amazon rainforest has lost almost 4’448’000 acres of land, think about that, that’s over 18’000 square kilometers, in less than 3 years (Butler, 2017). As the forest looses more and more of its volume, so increases the risks of harsher and more frequent droughts throughout southeast and central brazil. ‘“Before 2013, there would be three or four convergence rainfalls in São Paulo every year. But in 2015, there was only one. Last year there was only one and this year there has so far been only one. That means we are still using more water than is naturally replaced,” said Camila Ramos of Climatempo, a private forecasting agency. “If the Amazon forest disappears it would be plausible to assume that the rainfall volumes would drop in Sao Paulo as the humidity supply towards the southeast might decrease.”’ (Watts, 2018) Along with this Watts included that he had found that meteorologists believe the Amazon served as a link between two highly important corridors of humidity (Intertropical Convergence Zone and the South Atlantic Convergence Zone).

   In my opinion, everyone has a part in this issue. While most do not live in the affected (myself for example, living in a country where it snows for 6 months a year and essentially rains the rest of it), we all play a part in the very basis of the problem: overconsumption. We have for long turned a blind eye to the overwhelming evidence of the damage that our overconsumption cause. Effects such as global warming, child labour and sweatshops, over-mining/fishing/grown/cutdown/extracted as though the resources of this planet were infinite. Our very economic foundation relies on this infinite resource delusion (I.e. the belief of sustainable growth takes for granted that the planet could cope with an ever-increasing population by continuing to increase economic development at the expense of our planets well being). If we all do our own part do reduce our consumption, change our ways, supply will eventually follow, and while we may not directly reduce the deforestation of the Amazon, it will happen non-the-less, along with a plethora of other ecological benefits of course. A clear roadblock to this of course, is that overconsumption have become so deeply ingrained in our way of life that it is hard to imagine it would be remove, certainly not without significant effort and time. Moreover, as past experience has shown, corporations are not likely to simply “give up” their profits, as money does indeed rule the world, and will therefor do all in their power to prevent this progress, as they have done in Brazil in order to alter deforestation laws.

   Butler, R. (2017, January 26). Amazon Destruction. Retrieved March 13, 2018, from https://rainforests.mongabay.com/amazon/amazon_destruction.html

   Watts, J. (2017, November 28). The Amazon effect: how deforestation is starving São Paulo of water. Retrieved March 10, 2018, from https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/nov/28/sao-paulo-water-amazon-de...