Friday, May 16, 2008

Checkout the BBC World Service report on the Amazon Paradox

This excellent BBC report reveals many of the systemic issues that comprise the Amazon Paradox. They include human population growth, human livelihoods, climate impact, food production systems and global trade, technology and the need for new institutional arrangements that can pay for ecosystem services.

It is both difficult and dangerous to extract simple strategies for action from such a complex situation, but there is a need to act quickly. Future actions that seem warranted include:

1. Stopping the massive transfer of plant products to Europe for animal production (e.g. soya beans);
2. Reducing per capita meat consumption and reversing the social expectation that meat production rises with increases in income;
3. Develop new institutional arrangements that allow funds transfer to purchase ecosystem services in places like the Amazon and at the same time secure more sustainable livelihoods for local people;
4. Re-frame the whole conceptual edifice on which international trade talks are built.

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