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Policies & PoliticsScience

Humans are Slowly and Steadily Destroying the Everglades and Amazon

2297266934_ef2b86f983 If it wasn’t bad enough that we seem to be pumping more and more in the way of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, we humans seem to be doing a pretty damn good job of eating away any chance of removing said emissions.

The latest comes in a one-two punch. First of all experts are labeling the fight to save the Florida Everglades as a “losing battle,” while Brazil’s Environment Minister is blaming upcoming elections and increasing food prices for another rise in Amazon deforestation.

So no matter which way you look at it, the simple fact of the matter is, humans are irreversibly stupid.

Brazil’s Environment Minister, Carlos Minc, has recently announced that upcoming nationwide elections, in addition to the global spike in food prices, are both to blame for the latest observable increase in deforestation in the Amazon.

According to a report from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, Amazon destruction jumped 228% in August 2008, compared to August 2007. That equates to at least 757 square kilometers compared to 230 square kilometers the August before. Frighteningly, this might just be the minimum number, considering that 26% of the Amazon was covered by clouds during the tracking, possibly obscuring even more deforestation.

“When you have elections, the appetite of authorities to enforce laws is reduced,” said Paulo Adario, who coordinates Greenpeace’s Amazon campaign. “But the federal government has to step in and do its job.”

Heading north a bit, and we arrive at the Everglades, where, according to a report published by the National Research Council, “scant progress” is being made in efforts to restore the Everglades.

“The Everglades ecosystem is continuing to decline. It’s our estimate that we’re losing the battle to save this thing,” said William Graf, the report’s committee chairman and head of the department of geography at the University of South Carolina at Columbia. “The attempt to restore an ecosystem as large and elaborate as the Everglades is an unprecedented challenge, but if this vision is to be realized, demonstrable progress needs to come soon.”

Amidst the problems being faced are ballooning costs and a simple lack of political will to see the restoration completed. “Unless near-term progress is achieved on major restoration initiatives, the Everglades will likely face further loss of species and habitat deterioration, which could be difficult or impossible to reverse,” the report said.

So to those who want to attack my apparent misanthropy, go ahead, but by all accounts, humans are doing their level best to kill themselves. It’s like a smoker: they know it’s going to kill them, but it’s oh so fun in the meantime.

credit: minds-eye at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

More on the Amazon and Everglades at the GO Network

Everglades National Park Approves Ambitious $23 Million Plan for Eco-Friendly Lodge
Florida Hails Good News for Environment, Climate
Amazon Deforestation on the Rise Again
Drilling in the Amazon




One comment
  1. Steff

    Unfortunately I know very well how authorities work in Brazil, they will keep destroying it unless there’s intervention from other countries. There’s no enforcement and the “authorities” work with companies that are bribing them to log in the Amazon. I don’t see any hope for Brazil to stop this craziness anytime soon…

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