Digging into the Latin American Environment? A Look at modern day latin america and what goes into protecting the environment

My Inspiration

My mom told me about a movie I had to see because it pertains to me being a future scientist and aspiring pharmacist. The movie is a 1992 adventure/drama/romance film called, Medicine Man, with Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco. A quick summary of the movie is that two scientists from a large pharmaceutical company are sent to the jungles of the Amazon to research. Sean Connery has been in the jungle years before Lorraine Bracco arrives, and she finds out he figures out the cure for cancer. The only thing is he can't recreate the serum for the cure and he must figure it out again. At the end of the movie they figure out the cure, but right when they find it one of the construction worker's bulldozers used for building a road through the Amazon catches on fire. The fire destroys a large area of the forest and Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco must go on another quest to find the cure for cancer again. While I watched this movie it sent me on a roller coaster ride. I didn't know what to expect. This movie isn't based off a true story, but it made me realize that with the world becoming more and more industrialized, that man is destroying what could help protect the human race's health for centuries. At what cost will we stop destroying what has been on this earth from the beginning of time and is keeping us alive.

Amazon Rainforest, Brazil (Rondonia)

Environmental Concerns

Water Pollution and Water Shortages: In this video, made by The Nature Conservancy, it talks about the water shortages and limited access to clean water in Latin America. It tells you of future impacts of not protecting the waters of Latin America. This video has representatives from the Water Fund for Life and Sustainability organization, and they talk about the need for participants in funding the watersheds. The representatives talk about their plans of preservation and how the Latin American communities have been helped by the involvement of the watersheds. So, this video is a campaign for protecting the watersheds in Latin America because they are losing them and being polluted.

Air Quality:

A real time map that tells you the quality of air in a specific country
The index of the air quality in a specific country

This website is a free tool to see up to date air quality index (AQI) reports across the globe. The social enterprise project started this website in 2007. They provide AQI reports for 70 countries in 600 cities. The headquarters are in Beijing, China and they have many contributors from the environmental science community.

Deforestation: Greenpeace.org posted this video on an article they released. The article stated that cattle ranching is the number one cause of deforestation in Brazil, specifically in the Amazon. It was stated that," cattle ranching is [the] biggest cause of deforestation in the Amazon, and [80%] of [the] deforested areas in Brazil are now used for pasture. "

Stated by npr.org deforestation " [has] happened a lot like the land rush in the American [West]. Over the past few decades, the poor and dispossessed of other Brazilian states have been encouraged to move in [to areas within the Amazon]." The trees were cut down to provide space for "farms and cattle ranches." It was also stated that "in the 1960s, the Brazilian government started investing in roads and infrastructure." The lumber Brazil has to offer also increases the amount of deforestation. (npr.org) The interests of the Brazilian government, economy and its citizens are the main reason why the rain forests of the Amazon are facing deforestation.

Amazon Rainforest, Venezuela

Something to think about

Senador Ivo Cassol- current senator of Rondonia, Brazil

A word from Senador Cassol: "Climate control has a cost, [and] the world should be ready to pay up: Is it fair to ask Brazil to do all the conservation when the United States made the mess to begin with? That’s very hypocritical of the Americans. … Are we to be the slave of other countries? The lungs of the United States? … Even though they send us only a pittance to pay for it? I won’t accept it. No.” (npr.org)

Additional Facts and statements: Ivo Cassol is "one of the wealthiest senators in Brazil," and "[He] sits on the Brazilian Senate’s environmental committee." And it is stated that he thinks about the money that Brazil can bring in. According to a Rondonian public prosecutor he believes Cassol is the “founding father of deforestation” (nor.org).

Ecuadorian part of the Amazon


I happened upon this video because I was looking for ways Latin American countries marketed protecting the environment. This video was posted on the Twitter page of Acciona, which is a company that introduces projects of eco- friendly and sustainable solutions for infrastructure and renewable energy around the world. This was a Spanish 2015 Earth Day Campaign, and I could tell they were aiming for a young audience.

Colombian Rainforest (Chocó)

Protectors of the Environment

The dangers of standing up for the environment and protecting your land/home

Indigenous population:According to the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, "there are approximately 40,000,000 people in Latin America and the Caribbean that belong to the almost 600 indigenous peoples of the continent, many of [the indigenous people] are in Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Bolivia and Ecuador." There has been various protests regarding the, "new intergovernmental trade agreements with [other countries that ] facilitate the dispossession of indigenous land and resources, or their exploitation carried out without consultation and in exclusion of the indigenous inhabitants" (iwgia.org).

Environmental Activists: According to Global Witness "each week at least two people are [killed] for taking a stand against environmental destruction. Some are shot by police during protests, others gunned down by hired assassins." They also stated that, " [they] found that at least 116 environmental activists were murdered in 2014." Statistics were also found that, "40 % of victims were indigenous, with most people dying amid disputes over hydropower, mining and agri-business."

The above documentary comes from latincorrespondent.com and it discusses the stories of some indigenous communities from Honduras, Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala. They tell you about threats they have received from companies trying to take their land, and seeking refugee when threats become too serious. Some of the advocates say that the government doesn't protect them or their land and they are treated like criminals when they are not. These people in the documentary feel as though the companies are stealing their land without any consent or documentation , and that building the hydroelectric dams will destroy what is natural.

Peruivan part of the Amazon Jungle

Why Should we Care

In an overview in Worldwildlife.org it is stated that, "there is a clear link between the health of the Amazon and the health of the planet. The rain forests, which contain 90-140 billion metric tons of carbon, help stabilize local and global climate." This makes even more since because the Amazon is located in: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. According to npr.org, "a fifth of Brazil’s rain forest is already gone completely." Without the Amazon and the amount of vegetation it has, there would be a detrimental amount of carbon in the atmosphere worldwide."

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