Brazil: Environmental Problems and Solutions.

2094 Words Feb 13th, 2006 9 Pages
Introduction

The South American country of Brazil is well-known for its biodiversity and wealth of natural resources. The Amazon River and rainforest are located in Brazil, a country with more than 800,000 square miles of coastline, and a landmass so large that its borders touch all but two of its neighboring countries (Rich, 1999). The Amazon rainforest is the world's largest tropical rainforest, and for purposes of comparison, "its size is equivalent to one-half of the entire United States" (Rich, 1999). Although the need to protect this unique and valuable environment might seems obvious, the rainforest and its river have been the victims of extensive damage due to lack of resource management, overuse of the land and its resources, and
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Soil erosion and contamination of the water table are some effects (Rich, 1999) that have direct impacts on humans. This is particularly alarming because Brazil's burgeoning population has spread farther and farther into previously uninhabited territories, and clean water is not available in many communities (Rich, 1999). As we all learned in earth science class, an absence of trees negatively impacts nature's ability to recycle water effectively. Trees acts as filters and oxygenators; when they are not present, they cannot perform this vital function. The problems that humans have created then generate more problems. Rich (1999) points to the fact that the population incursion into new areas and the lack of trees has forced local authorities to construct hydroelectric dams, which have destroyed entire ecosystems, thereby creating additional environmental problems. The effects are not only local, but ripple into other countries as well. Brazil's rainforests have been called "the lungs of the planet" (Rich, 1999). What do we do when our lungs are gone?

Predictions

Environmental experts generally agree that if Brazil does not restrain its uncontrolled environmental destruction, both the country and the world will suffer devastating consequences. Most experts believe that the damage is irreversible, and it is hard to dispute this claim (Rich, 1999). They also point out that the damage will not be restricted to the physical environment, but will have