I spent a few days last week at the World Social Forum in Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon River. The importance of the rainforests was one of the reasons the Amazon region was selected as the venue for this year's Forum. At the Forum I attended a Climate Change workshop where Brazil's Minister of the Environment, Minc, announced that the government is cracking down on deforestation by forbidding the export of soy and beef from areas that have been cleared, and by closing the huge sawmills and auctioning off the lumber so that the owners receive none of the profit. I can't say that I totally trust the Brazilian government, or any other, to follow through with such promises, but it's certainly an improvement to have the government indicate its concern so proactively.
Another speaker at the Climate Change Workshop said that it's time for Brazil to catch up with Great Britain, which is the leader in initiatives to fight global warming. Here are some words from one of that country's leaders:
"Britain's Prince Charles called yesterday for the world to act with a 'sense of wartime urgency' to protect the rainforests, warning that they were 'umbilically connected' to the phenomenon of climate change. The heir to the British throne says rainforests 'are the world's lifebelt', acting as the 'world's air conditioning system' and helping store the largest body of flowing water on the planet. Such ambitious, ecologically-based policy is welcome from the nation that unleashed industrialism."
From Earth's Newsdesk (http://ecoearth.info/newsdesk/) Sept. 11, 2008