A poster child for environmental degradation and the ongoing destruction of vulnerable forest-rich habitats in the name of profit and industry, Brazil is perhaps the most ideal backdrop for the upcoming International Sustainability Forum slated to occur on March 26 – 27. A collection of the most renowned minds in the scientific community will descend upon a region that is racked with progressive deforestation, which has famously resulted in a measurable increase in our global temperature. As it turns out, three particularly high profile individuals will be in attendance at that time, chief biodiversity advisor to the World Bank and United Nations Foundation Thomas Lovejoy as well as Avatar director James Cameron and former US vice president Al Gore (who will both be delivering speeches).
Maybe it will help attendees of the northern Manaus convention to feel the heat first hand and (hopefully) see with their own two eyes what happens when the rainforests are plundered and leveled in order to make way for the cultivation of cocoa and soybean crops as well as cattle ranching and other eco-destructive industries. Perhaps they will then truly recognize the gravity of what is unfolding outside their conference windows and take measurable actions to help our ailing environment.
Referred to as the lungs of the earth, rainforests and the Amazon in particular are Mother Nature’s built-in filtration system, capable of purging excess CO2 from our atmosphere and in turn generating vital oxygen. However, the more the forest is destroyed, the higher the amount of carbon dioxide is released – in fact, multiple sources estimate that as much as 400 million tons of CO2 is released annually as a direct result of the Amazon’s deforestation. Simply put, this is what happens when vast swaths of trees are cut and burned to make room for cattle and humans.
To be fair, Brazil announced that it “aims to reduce its greenhouse emissions at least 36 percent by 2020” and its level of Amazonian deforestation by 80% so at least they’ve got that going for them, but how they plan to pull it off remains to be seen. With the unfortunate distinction of being the 6th largest global contributor to greenhouse gases hanging over their head, the International Sustainability Forum can’t come soon enough. This would be an auspicious occasion for Gore and Cameron to combine their brainpower for an even more lasting one-two-punch. There’s nothing wrong with getting lost in a little indulgent eco-fantasy, is there?