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Securing A Future For The Mighty Amazon

NPR’s Lourdes Garcia-Navarro takes us into the epic struggle right now over the fate of the Amazon rain forest.

Inspectors at an illegal logging camp in the Machadinho d'Oeste section of the Amazon rain forest in the western Brazilian state of Rondonia clear the camp for inspections. (NPR / Kainaz Amaria)

Inspectors at an illegal logging camp in the Machadinho d’Oeste section of the Amazon rain forest in the western Brazilian state of Rondonia clear the camp for inspections. (NPR / Kainaz Amaria)

Over the last week, NPR’s Lourdes Garcia-Navarro has told a remarkable, unnerving story about what’s going on with Brazil’s Amazon rain forest. It’s called “the lungs of the world,” and in a series of reports from deep in the forest, the NPR correspondent show those lungs literally on fire. Under siege. A critical natural marvel being burnt and logged and plowed under. Brazil says it’s protecting the rain forest. This week of vivid reporting suggests otherwise, and raises huge questions about the consequences. This hour On Point, Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, and the fate of the Amazon rain forest.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR’s South America correspondent. (@lourdesgnavarro)

From Tom’s Reading List

 NPR: Deep in the Amazon, an unseen battle over the most valuable trees — “The self-described “Guardians of the Forest” defending the land don’t look like fighters, at least when we first meet them. But they are pitting themselves against criminal logging gangs that have infiltrated their protected reserves. In their everyday life, they are rubber tappers. They take us on a trail that leads to their rubber trees, which grow wild on the reserves where they live. These trees are native to the Amazon region, one of the most dangerous places in the world to be an environmental defender.’

New York Times: Deforestation and Drought — “Drought is usually thought of as a natural disaster beyond human control. But as researchers peer deeper into the Earth’s changing bioclimate — the vastly complex global interplay between living organisms and climatic forces — they are better appreciating the crucial role that deforestation plays.”

BBC News: Brazil’s Amazon wilderness at risk from organised crime — “No country has done more than Brazil in recent years to tackle the previously rampant levels of deforestation but there is a good reason the agents have their guns drawn – we have seen statistics which show that rates of Amazon destruction are again on the rise. There are big profits to be made from illegal logging and the fraudulent clearing of rain forest for valuable cash crops and these helicopter patrols are often shot at.”

 

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