Archive Page 4

Any Questions?

This blog has attracted very few comments so far, so I thought I’d just mention that if you have any unanswered questions I will try to reply promptly. Your questions can be about the expedition or more broadly about the environment and people of the Xingu basin – or even about the larger issues affecting the whole of the Amazon. I will do my best to answer them and/or point you in the direction of other sites or organisations.

Bad News 2: Soya Drives Massive Increase in Deforestation

This article is shocking. Rates of deforestation have quadrupled in the last three months, driven by rising soya prices on the international commodities markets.

An official from the institute which monitors deforestation for the Brazilian government is quoted as saying, “We’ve never before detected such a high deforestation rate at this time of year.”

Please consider making a donation to IPCST to support our work with the indigenous people of the Xingu. Click here.

Bad News 1: Cattle and the World Bank

This article in The Independent last week shows very clearly how difficult it is to fight against the forces destroying the Amazon rain forest.

 For anyone who doesn’t have time to read the whole thing, the following quote might make you think: “The new report estimates that the internationally funded expansion of Brazil’s beef industry was responsible for up to 12 billion tons of CO2 emissions over the past decade – an amount comparable to two years of emissions from the US.” This is not a small, peripheral problem. It is one which represents a huge threat to the entire population of the world – and in the front line of those under immediate threat are the tribal indigenous people of the Amazon.

Please consider making a donation to IPCST to support our work with the indigenous people of the Xingu. Click here.

‘People’ page updated!

I have added some information to the ‘People’ page.

IPCST and the Bali UNFCCC Conference

It is great to see forests, and tropical rain forests in particular, high on the agenda at the conference. During the Heart of Brazil Expedition, we established that a fundamental force driving deforestation in Mato Grosso and Para States is money.

 It is a sad fact that as long as cleared land is worth more than land with forests standing – in Brazil at the moment roughly five times more – then the destruction will continue.

While schemes to market forest products are important and praiseworthy, they will fall far short of turning this situation around.

World demand for soya beans remains high, and continues for the most part to be blind to the destruction being wreaked to make way for the biodiversity deserts such monocultures create. At the same time, Brazil is pressing ahead with planning a runaway expansion of biofuel production. This can do nothing but exacerbate the situation.

Brazil’s representatives in Bali are bickering with the United States over import tariffs on biofuels, but seem keen to downplay the huge contribution which forest clearance is making to the tally of human-generated greenhouse gases. Currently, rainforest destruction accounts for 20 percent of ALL greenhouse gas emissions worldwide – more than all forms of transport put together!

The delegates in Bali must acknowledge that, purely from a pragmatic point of view, the United Nations Climate Change process has to develop a mechanism to reimburse the rainforest nations for the services the forests provide in terms of the global climate, and they are making some progress in that direction.

Avoidance of forest destruction is a relatively cheap way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Saving all of that 20% would cost a fraction of what it would cost to develop and roll out the technology required to cut 20% of global emissions in industrial nations.

But, at the same time, avoidance is not sequestration. Preventing the emissions from deforestation should not be used by industrialised nations as an ‘offset’ against their emissions. Industrialised nations should only be permitted to emit greenhouse gases if they make arrangements for equivalent amounts of carbon to be captured and sequestered effectively, whether this is by planting new forests where none stood before, or by technological means such as carbon dioxide capture direct from the creation process, for example in the chimneys of coal-fired power stations.

 The mechanism for reimbursing forest nations must be something different and innovative, but it could be linked to the carbon trading system which is being developed as a result of the Kyoto Protocol.

There is, however, a real and present danger that any ‘market-driven’ system which might be developed will do great damage. Large flows of money inevitably attract large corporations with no other motive but profit. They are adept at subverting good intentions, using the system to undermine itself and leaving behind a worse situation than existed in the first place.

Large flows of money rarely even trickle down to rural people, pouring instead into the pockets of already-rich jet-setting city dwellers. They often bring only further poverty and marginalisation to the local people where large-scale projects are implanted. Yet it is rural people, and especially indigenous tribal people like the ones you can see here on this site, who hold the key to really preserving the forests, for the health of the planet’s climate, for the mitigation of the wave of extinctions which scientists tell us is already happening, and for the future prosperity of mankind.

We are hopeful but not optimistic about the outcome of this conference. It seems ironic that, while thousands of delegates spend millions of dollars on this conference, we at IPCST are struggling to raise a few thousand dollars for small projects, which will have such a fundamental and beneficial impact on the people and the trees of the Xingu River basin.

Please consider making a donation to IPCST to support our work with the indigenous people of the Xingu. Click here.

© Patrick Cunningham

IPCST At the Ethical Christmas Fair, Canning House on Friday

This Friday, the 30th November, IPCST will have a stall selling photographic prints by Sue Cunningham and CDs of Emily Burridge’s music at the Ethical Fair, Canning House, 2 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PJ, open from 12:00 mid-day until 8:00 pm.

The Fair will be packed with all kinds of Arts & Crafts, Ethical Fashion, Jewellery, Baskets, Porcelain, Bedspreads, Candle holders, Live Music, Raffle, Food, Mulled Wine; A day of ethical shopping, eating & drinking while enjoying live music from Latin America. Entrance: £2. Find some unusual Christmas presents in a fun environment. If you don’t know Canning House and its interesting Luso-Latin American programme, take this opportunity to find out about it.

Prints For Sale until Christmas

For a limited period until Christmas, we are offering prints for sale. These are high-quality professional prints as displayed in the Heart of Brazil Exhibition, and can be supplied at sizes up to A2 (594mm x 420mm). Proceeds from the sale will go entirely to Indigenous Peoples’ Cultural Support Trust to finance projects in the Xingu region.

The minimum payment for each print is £150, though we would naturally appreciate any additional donation above this figure. You can select any image from the Photo Galleries in the links on the right-hand side of this page. Price includes delivery by Royal Mail in the UK; for overseas, please let us know what method of delivery you require so that we can quote you the additional cost.

To order prints, find the picture you want in the Photo Galleries and click on “To purchase a print click here” in the top right-hand corner. In the email this opens, send us details of which image number you require (shown underneath the picture), your name, address and email address, the size of print, and your preference for gloss or semi-gloss finish. We will reply to confirm your selection and to arrange payment.

These prints make great Christmas presents. Each print will be accompanied by a certificate showing that proceeds will be used by IPCST to finance projects, so you will be giving your friends and family something of intrinsic value, while also supporting a very worthwhile cause.

Our Sponsors

We would like to thank the following major sponsors:
Royal Geographical Society
Rainforest Concern
Artists' Project Earth

and all of the many other individuals and organisations who have supported us.