An applied environmental ethics 'case study on the Brazilian rainforest'.

Essay by carobUniversity, Bachelor'sB, August 2003

download word file, 23 pages 4.7 1 reviews

Downloaded 267 times

"The authenticity of nature arises out of the fact that its existence precedes its essence."

- Eugene C. Hargrove

The Moral Problem

During the 1960s, Brazil was burdened with the heavy responsibility of a huge foreign debt (two decades later this would be front-page news in developed nations) and a rapidly increasing population of already 70 million people. The Amazon basin, which covers 50 percent of Brazil's territory, was home to only 3,5 percent of the population with the rest of Brazilians, mostly landless, congesting the coastal cities. Increased colonisation of this area (the Amazon) gave the impression of being a coherent and plausible resolution to the debt problem and the overcrowding of urban domains (Case, K and Fair, R: 1989. p.881).

Indonesia's "Transmigration" policy, which necessitated the displacement of 140 million people from the over-populated islands to the less-populated ones from 1950 to 1985, was observed as a successful model by the Brazilian authorities (Shoumatoff).

Brazil could simultaneously help relieve its debt, by cutting down logs in the rainforest and selling them to Japan, a nation with a market always readily disposed to the acquisition of raw lumber.

The Brazilian government, hence, devised a detailed procedure to construct motorways deep into the remote basin of the Amazon so that roughly 30 million people might hopefully migrate there and seize virtually free land.

The orchestrators of the procedure anticipated the land not only to be beneficial for a rise in lumber to be sold for foreign exchange, but also as a system of land reform that would not result in any adversity towards the minority of rich and influential proprietors of Brazil's most productive land. Throughout Latin America it is estimated that less than 2 percent of all landowners control almost 75 percent land under cultivation (Case, K and Fair,