The Amazon Rainforest, also known as Amazonia, is the largest and most diverse tropical rainforest in the world and its surface belongs to nine nations. The biggest part is within Brazil and in 2011 it was declared one of the New Seven Wonders of Nation. This is what almost everybody knows about the Amazon Rainforest and what appears in Geography and Science textbooks. However, during the past days, the Amazonia has been the talk of the town in Brazil and, unfortunately not for a good reason, but rather a controversial one.
The current Brazilian Government―presided by Michael Temer― approved a law that allows mining in one of the most precious Amazon areas. The Brazilian President, who took over the office last year after his predecessor’s impeachment, has the lowest popularity rates in the history of Brazilian democracy.
The proposed area was bigger than Denmark and is supposed to be rich in gold and other minerals. The reason is also rich in conservation and indigenous land areas: nine are located within its limits.
Even though the Government assured the security of the indigenous reservations and the prohibition of mining in those areas, Brazilian and international public opinion, environmentalists and even celebrities (such as Gisele Bündchen) turned against it. During a long week, tons of comments and protest images circulated via the Internet.
The angst and concern about other consequences of mining in a protected area are understandable in Brazil. In 2015, the country suffered a toxic flood in the state of Minas Gerais when the retaining walls of an iron ore tailing dam cracked.
Fortunately for nature preservation, the court rejected the mineral extraction in this protected natural area. However, it is reasonable to wonder why the mining was proposed and how the Amazonia can be preserved for future generations.