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Sad but very important read regarding the Amazon, 'Lungs of the Earth'


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http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/10/01/amazon-gold-mining-video-carnegie_n_4013594.html?utm_hp_ref=canada

Amazon Gold Mining Video: Carnegie Airborne Observatory Reveals Deforestation, Devastation

Dr. Gregory Asner didn't need hyper-spectral imaging to tell him something was very wrong with Earth's mightiest rain forest.

In fact, none of the super-sensory techno-gadgetry aboard his research plane -- dubbed the Carnegie Airborne Observatory -- would tell a more horrifying tale than a basic pair of wing-mounted cameras.

"It was the wing cameras -- those simple HD wing cameras -- that grabbed everybody's attention," Asner, a professor at the California-based Carnegie Institution for Science, told the Huffington Post.

They revealed vast tracts of dead zones slicing ever-widening swathes through the once-emerald expanses of the Amazon -- the trails of a modern-day gold rush.

"A lot of poor folks from up in the Andes have migrated down to partake in a very classic-style gold rush," Asner explained. "It's totally illegal. It's totally unplanned. It's totally informal.

"It's somewhere between 300 per cent and 500 per cent higher than the government thought was going on. There might be 50,000 of these miners now."

And, as their operations rake claws across the Amazon, the toll not only on the land but the people who have long called it home has become impossible to ignore.

"It is amazing to see the gold mining expand so rapidly," Asner noted. "I've been on the ground, covertly, in the mines, and it is horrendous for the people who are working and living there, but they don't care because gold is so valuable currently."

Indeed, the Amazon may be the most vital victim of the 2008 financial crisis. Amid the bailouts, collapse of financial institutions and market panic of that dismal year, the price of gold skyrocketed.

Asner estimates before the crisis, the Amazon was being studded with some 2,100 hectares of goldmines annually.

And after gold prices surged?

"The rate went up from 2,100 to 6,500 new gold mines every year-- and it has gone up since then."

Rich man, poor mankind.

o-AMAZON-RAIN-FOREST-570.jpg?15

Since being uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 16, Asner's clip has gone viral, eliciting outrage from viewers around the world, as well as local politicians.

“Deforestation isn’t a strong enough term to describe what’s happening there," Peruvian journalist and politician Guido Lombardi told Amazon Aid Foundation. "It’s truly devastation. It’s as if you put a piece of desert in the middle of the Amazonian rain forest."

And, like the moonscapes they resemble, the gashes of heavy mining have left the land contaminated and incapable of growing new vegetation, Lombardi noted.

And that's just the picture from above. On the ground, the situation is even more dire.

Greg Asner, whose team comprises Peruvians, Americans and Canadians, describes the classic horrors of gold fever -- "a whole awful heartbreaking cycle" that includes the brutal dealings of 'gold lords', prostitution and child abuse.

And then there's mercury -- the highly toxic element miners use to separate gold from the soil.

The drive to plunder the Amazon, which covers about 4.1 million square kilometers of South America, is sowing a lethal legacy in its wake.

In Peru's Madre de Dios region, where countless small-scale mining operations have set up shop, a study published earlier this year suggests mercury levels have surged. Tailings produced by operations, the Guardian reports, have contaminated much of the fish -- a staple in the diet of indigenous peoples -- exposing locals, particularly children, to unacceptable levels of mercury.

The study, by the Carnegie Amazon Mercury Project, noted native communities had levels of mercury five times the amount the World Health Organization (WHO) deems safe -- a number that falls to just twice as much in people living in the region's urban areas.

“You go out to these communities that are so incredibly poor, and there is money buried in the dirt,” graduate student Jason Scullion, who witnessed the ravages first-hand, told the science journal, Nature. “It is not surprising that they want to go out there and dig it up.”

Mining operations are hardly alone in carving up -- and contaminating -- the Amazon. In September, Brazil looked at the devastation from an even loftier perspective. According to Reuters, the company's space agency used satellite imagery to point a cosmic finger at logging operations -- claiming nearly 2,766 square kilometres of forest were razed between August 2012 and July 2013.

Or roughly twice the size of Los Angeles.

The death of the Amazon -- dubbed the 'Lamborghini of biodiversity' by conservation biologist Dr. Reese Halter -- could spell a mortal blow for all of us.

Statistics compiled by savetheamazon.org offer this stark reality check on the inroads of mining, logging and development in the Amazon.

The rain forest exhales a fifth of the world's oxygen into our atmosphere. Another fifth of the planet's freshwater is found there. And a quarter of pharmaceutical drugs are derived from rain forest plants.

Certainly, this vast -- and still largely unexplored region -- lives up to its namesake as the lungs of the world.

But it is an organ that appears to be failing.

As Halter wrote in
the jungle is "now regularly breaking down. Droughts are ravaging these rain forests laying waste to millions of square miles - not only killing billions of trees, but turning them, too, into mass decaying graveyards bleeding gigatons of more heat-trapping CO2 into the atmosphere and worse.

"As the Amazon forests die, the Earth also loses its awesome cloud-making machines and instead it's forced to absorb incoming solar radiation rather than reflect it."

A reflection, indeed, of our own excess.

"Illegal mining in Madre de Dios has exploded in the past decade due to rising gold prices and increased access," says Sarah duPont, executive director of the Amazon Aid Foundation, "And is causing mass devastation in what was once one of the most pristine and biodiverse areas in the world."

Working in the Amazon for the last 15 years, duPont can attest to the horrors of the gold rush -- particularly its ravages of the rain forest.

She produced an hour-long documentary last year, called Amazon Gold, attesting to the devastation.

"Because the mining takes place in remote, mostly unregulated areas," she explains, "It's hard to know how extensive the problem is, which is why documenting it with video is so important."

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I´m from Manaus/Brazil, the city is located in the middle of the jungle...

I flew for more than 4 and a half years in the jungle as a bush Pilot...

and all I can tell you is this...

NOBODY CARES.

Greenpeace is too busy doing fancy protest activity using their big ship but they can´t use their money to help poor people or villagers in the jungle to live and to increase their local production to get money and resourses to live without being fully helped by the government...

those "Eco Jerks" love say "we must save the forest" but what they do to REALLY save the forest? those jerks drive muscle cars consuming tons of fuel instead drive flexfuel/biofuel cars with high mileage or KM/L. of course, being an "Eco" is pretty easy when you live in USA driving your 3.0 Chevy telling everybody to save the world and be green but they can´t live in Brazil driving a 1.0 (80hp) flexfuel cars using only Etanol...

I saw what those people actually do in the jungle, they go there, collect/get what they want (flowers,fish,natural bioreactors), or start a mineration activity/industry take some pictures with very poor people and return to their fancy and well cooled homes!

if those "Eco Jerks" like so much the enviroment why don´t they stop being so consumist? why don´t they drive "green cars"? most of these "Ecos" live in USA or Europe but they see the jungle as a far and distant problem where they visit, make reports and tell on TV "Hey! it´s your fault"

Brazil have the tecnology of Biofuel Engine since 1970´s but you don´t see a "Brazilian Eco Jerk" saying to the world "Hey! you must save the planet".

why USA don´t import our tecnology and start a domestic market of biofuel cars? why USA don´t use Etanol to power their cars? they can make Etanol from corn, it´s more expensive than the Etanol made by Sugar Cane (as we do in Brazil) but it´s green anyway, and you will be doing something cheap to save the planet...

The Jungle is being destroyed because the local governments don´t care about the jungle. when a rich American man comes to any country in South America with tons of money the government says "welcome! destroy the jungle and make progress happen here!"

the stupid and old govenment of South American countries don´t think about the future because for them the jungle is big, there´s a lot of rivers and if you cut the jungle will grow again in a few months...

USA is being stupid demanding the world to reduce the polution but what Americans did in Brazil? American companies destroyed an area equivalent of the British Columbia province and the US media don´t say anything!

but when a Brazilian company decide to build a dam to produce energy from rivers and lakes then "the Brazilian people are destroying their own country and affecting the world"

it´s super easy be an "Eco" behind your computer. but I tell you guys, the reallity is even worse, at this moment people are being killed by many of those "Eco industries" and "Eco people" in order to give "progress" (to who?) to United States...

because you know. Donald Trump needs a diamont ring, Madonna needs gold, USA need more oil for their cars, Europe needs iron for their computers. where do you think these things comes to your house so cheap?

from the jungle, every day, slowly, the jungle is dying. in a century the Brazilian jungle or any jungle will be the BIGGEST desert because people pretend to care when they actually don´t...

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I´m from Manaus/Brazil, the city is located in the middle of the jungle...

I flew for more than 4 and a half years in the jungle as a bush Pilot...

and all I can tell you is this...

NOBODY CARES.

Greenpeace is too busy doing fancy protest activity using their big ship but they can´t use their money to help poor people or villagers in the jungle to live and to increase their local production to get money and resourses to live without being fully helped by the government...

those "Eco Jerks" love say "we must save the forest" but what they do to REALLY save the forest? those jerks drive muscle cars consuming tons of fuel instead drive flexfuel/biofuel cars with high mileage or KM/L. of course, being an "Eco" is pretty easy when you live in USA driving your 3.0 Chevy telling everybody to save the world and be green but they can´t live in Brazil driving a 1.0 (80hp) flexfuel cars using only Etanol...

I saw what those people actually do in the jungle, they go there, collect/get what they want (flowers,fish,natural bioreactors), or start a mineration activity/industry take some pictures with very poor people and return to their fancy and well cooled homes!

if those "Eco Jerks" like so much the enviroment why don´t they stop being so consumist? why don´t they drive "green cars"? most of these "Ecos" live in USA or Europe but they see the jungle as a far and distant problem where they visit, make reports and tell on TV "Hey! it´s your fault"

Brazil have the tecnology of Biofuel Engine since 1970´s but you don´t see a "Brazilian Eco Jerk" saying to the world "Hey! you must save the planet".

why USA don´t import our tecnology and start a domestic market of biofuel cars? why USA don´t use Etanol to power their cars? they can make Etanol from corn, it´s more expensive than the Etanol made by Sugar Cane (as we do in Brazil) but it´s green anyway, and you will be doing something cheap to save the planet...

The Jungle is being destroyed because the local governments don´t care about the jungle. when a rich American man comes to any country in South America with tons of money the government says "welcome! destroy the jungle and make progress happen here!"

the stupid and old govenment of South American countries don´t think about the future because for them the jungle is big, there´s a lot of rivers and if you cut the jungle will grow again in a few months...

USA is being stupid demanding the world to reduce the polution but what Americans did in Brazil? American companies destroyed an area equivalent of the British Columbia province and the US media don´t say anything!

but when a Brazilian company decide to build a dam to produce energy from rivers and lakes then "the Brazilian people are destroying their own country and affecting the world"

it´s super easy be an "Eco" behind your computer. but I tell you guys, the reallity is even worse, at this moment people are being killed by many of those "Eco industries" and "Eco people" in order to give "progress" (to who?) to United States...

because you know. Donald Trump needs a diamont ring, Madonna needs gold, USA need more oil for their cars, Europe needs iron for their computers. where do you think these things comes to your house so cheap?

from the jungle, every day, slowly, the jungle is dying. in a century the Brazilian jungle or any jungle will be the BIGGEST desert because people pretend to care when they actually don´t...

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It's not donald trumps fault it's not madonna fault. it's the fault of these crappy countries who have so many poor people. the leaders of these countries aren't poor? these countries are not poor. They are dictatorships. the only people to blame for this are the people who are doing this. The local people. they are all corrupt.

I agree too that your avg Eco is a moron and a hypocrite.

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It's not donald trumps fault it's not madonna fault. it's the fault of these crappy countries who have so many poor people. the leaders of these countries aren't poor? these countries are not poor. They are dictatorships. the only people to blame for this are the people who are doing this. The local people. they are all corrupt.

I agree too that your avg Eco is a moron and a hypocrite.

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the corruption is destroying those countries. but things are changing. the locals must live, so if a local destroy their own nature it´s wrong but when a large company like Monsanto do the same thing isn´t wrong? locals have to live. people in Manaus (for example) need use the jungle to live but BP is there to make profit only, BP workers don´t live in Manaus, they "stay" there for a while before return to their homes. Trump wanted build a giant hotel in Manaus, for what? to save the jungle of because mr. James Cameron visit the city at least 7 times a year? those "starts" are faulty too because they´re hypocrites. "do what I say but don´t do what I do." aham...

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The numbers may be correct in the amount of oxygen produced in the Amazon or the world's oceans. However no one source is the " lungs of the world ". The oxygen produced in the Amazon goes to the Amazon, not travelling around the world.

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I'd disagree with that statement. The currents in the atmosphere certainly circulate the air from that are to other parts of the word. As an example, a small part of the Sahara desert known as the Bodélé, and area just one half the size of the Amazon, supplies more than half of the material that fertilizes the rainforest via dust that is blown across the Atlantic ocean on air currents. On days when it's actively emitting dust, it provides on average more than 0.7 million tons of dust each day.

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I´m from Manaus/Brazil, the city is located in the middle of the jungle...

I flew for more than 4 and a half years in the jungle as a bush Pilot...

and all I can tell you is this...

NOBODY CARES.

Greenpeace is too busy doing fancy protest activity using their big ship but they can´t use their money to help poor people or villagers in the jungle to live and to increase their local production to get money and resourses to live without being fully helped by the government...

those "Eco Jerks" love say "we must save the forest" but what they do to REALLY save the forest? those jerks drive muscle cars consuming tons of fuel instead drive flexfuel/biofuel cars with high mileage or KM/L. of course, being an "Eco" is pretty easy when you live in USA driving your 3.0 Chevy telling everybody to save the world and be green but they can´t live in Brazil driving a 1.0 (80hp) flexfuel cars using only Etanol...

I saw what those people actually do in the jungle, they go there, collect/get what they want (flowers,fish,natural bioreactors), or start a mineration activity/industry take some pictures with very poor people and return to their fancy and well cooled homes!

if those "Eco Jerks" like so much the enviroment why don´t they stop being so consumist? why don´t they drive "green cars"? most of these "Ecos" live in USA or Europe but they see the jungle as a far and distant problem where they visit, make reports and tell on TV "Hey! it´s your fault"

Brazil have the tecnology of Biofuel Engine since 1970´s but you don´t see a "Brazilian Eco Jerk" saying to the world "Hey! you must save the planet".

why USA don´t import our tecnology and start a domestic market of biofuel cars? why USA don´t use Etanol to power their cars? they can make Etanol from corn, it´s more expensive than the Etanol made by Sugar Cane (as we do in Brazil) but it´s green anyway, and you will be doing something cheap to save the planet...

The Jungle is being destroyed because the local governments don´t care about the jungle. when a rich American man comes to any country in South America with tons of money the government says "welcome! destroy the jungle and make progress happen here!"

the stupid and old govenment of South American countries don´t think about the future because for them the jungle is big, there´s a lot of rivers and if you cut the jungle will grow again in a few months...

USA is being stupid demanding the world to reduce the polution but what Americans did in Brazil? American companies destroyed an area equivalent of the British Columbia province and the US media don´t say anything!

but when a Brazilian company decide to build a dam to produce energy from rivers and lakes then "the Brazilian people are destroying their own country and affecting the world"

it´s super easy be an "Eco" behind your computer. but I tell you guys, the reallity is even worse, at this moment people are being killed by many of those "Eco industries" and "Eco people" in order to give "progress" (to who?) to United States...

because you know. Donald Trump needs a diamont ring, Madonna needs gold, USA need more oil for their cars, Europe needs iron for their computers. where do you think these things comes to your house so cheap?

from the jungle, every day, slowly, the jungle is dying. in a century the Brazilian jungle or any jungle will be the BIGGEST desert because people pretend to care when they actually don´t...

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I gonna tell you guys a small story about how things work in the jungle...

One day I landed with my boss and his workers on a small runway (runyway?) made by grass and dirty soil. the old Piper Seneca II landed short, it´s a nice plane even if this Seneca was old...

my boss told me we will stay there for one day returning to Belém on the next morning, so I would leave my bag on the "main house" on the industrial complex and after that I could walk around and do whatever I want since everybody there knew about my presence there (people refered me as "Commander")

after "install" myself on my "room" (made by wood, without air conditioner and hot like hell) I decided explore the area, a charcoal / lumber industry taking care to don´t go so far...

honestly the place was like the hell. imagine thousands of trees being cut every second resulting in a heavy and dense sawdust for their final destination of coal or wood...

imagine giant machines cutting trees 150ft tall in seconds, when the giant tree fall and reach the ground it creates a noise and a small earthquake, the sawdust invade the place and you might fell yourself trapped, after that workers surround the tree and start cut the giant in small peaces according to their final destination. if it´s for coal the tree is cut in small blocks (cubes) and put into trucks or ships to be transported through the rivers to heavy powerplants to produce energy, not necessary in Brazil...

if the destination is wood then workers cut into long wooden slats with 150ft lenght each one, then heavy cranes put those slats into big ships and transport then through the rivers to their final destination where the wood will be industrialized...

when I saw "many workers" imagine hundreds of people invading the place with chainsaws and starting cutting the giant tree in minutes, the place is hot, smelling like death body and the wild animals screaming around you. you can´t concentrate very well, the adrenaline on your body tells you to "finish the job".

and this thing is done tree after tree from 7am to 7pm. imagine how many trees they cut every day. some guy told me that on a good day they can cut 200 big trees...

after see that thing I decide to walk to the river where the rest of the giant was put to be transported. the river is big and there where 4 big ships there being loaded, the captain of one of those told me all of then are being loaded at that time and each ship can hold more than 5.000 tons of wood. at some times the industry require ship with capability of hold more than 10.000 tons of wood...

imagine, 5.000 tons of wood. can you imagine that?

without speak I just looked and thought "do we need all this wood? with our level of tecnology?" we can recycle wood and iron. why we need kill something so nice and peacefull as this tree to do what? fancy furniture for rich people? coal for energy for what when we have hydroelectric powerplants or nuclear energy?

the jungle is there to be used. if you cut 1 or 3 trees nothing will happen but when you cut 200 150ft trees in one day and repeat this process for the next 364 days THERE´S SOMETHING REALLY WRONG!

I returned to the "main complex" and decided to explore the "maintenance area", hundreds of cranes, chainsaws, trucks and ships being repaired for continue the job, but "in the jungle" the repair is not that good soo the polution around the "hangar" was big, oil on the ground, smoke all the time, death animals being eated by other animals and noise, a lot of noise...

was 7pm when the "day" ended and the workers returned from their jobs. at night everybody eat at the same place, the "big house" they say. the food was simple but was good, fish, juice, meat...

but even on the same "big house" the bosses sit on a different table, a fancy one. as the Pilot I was "invited" (imposed) to sit with them...

the boss of that industry asked me what I was thinking about that area of extraction. I said "well, it´s a big area with a lot of trees" I didn´t want get in trouble and the "runway" was 3km away from the complex, without the plane I couldn´t do anything...

the boss of that industry told me:

"Rodrigo, what you´re seen here it´s just business, when somebody wants a nice furtiture that´s the origing, when some industry wants a cheap source of energy that´s the cost. when some rich woman needs a fancy decoration is here where her dream starts. nobody knows, nobody cares, but I and your boss are receiveing money from those people, from those people on their facy houses in Brazil, in USA, in Canada, in any country"

and I realised he was right...

for some rich people have their fancy furniture the start was there where I was, with sawdust, noise, sense of adrenaline to "finish the job" and people being slaved for I don´t know what...

then after the dinner and have a conversation with the bosses about the plane I decided to take a shower, walk and see the stars and sleep...

see the starts in the middle of the jungle is a unique experience, it´s peacefull, it´s romantic, no polution, no "noises". you just look and enjoy the sky (when it´s not raining)

happened a very funny/wierd thing during my sleep but I will tell only if people here ask me to tell what happened...

at the morning I saw the same river I saw yesterday, there was more 4 ships being loaded, and this process is repeated 24 hours...

after my meal we went to the runway and returned to Belém (200 miles).

now I ask you. this cost is fair?

slaving people for only a few rich people enjoy that?

destroying the nature as it was nothing? we´re mudering a life being...

but you know what those "Ecos Jerks" do. nothing! they go on TV and say "it´s your fault"...

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