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Posts Tagged ‘Brazil’

As we all know, Brazil is hosting the 2014 World Cup. Recently, they have revealed their latest Stadium ready for the matches, called National Mané Garrincha Stadium, located in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital. Mané Garrincha could be the first stadium in the world to be awarded the Platinum LEED seal, which is the top sustainability related certificate, awarded by the Green Building Council (GBC).

Also known as Eco-arena, because of its sustainable achievements, the stadium construction included the reuse of material from the demolition of the old building and the use of recyclable products. Besides, the current infrastructure is designed to save water and energy. Rainwater will be collected and treated to be reused, and nearly 2,000 solar panels on the roof will produce up to 2.2 Megawatts. This will be redirected to power more than 2,000 houses, when the stadium is not in use.

The stadium stands at 46 metres high and is divided into four sectors with eight storeys, 19 gates and 158 turnstiles at the entrance points. The new 72,800-seater stadium also has 74 boxes, 276 toilets, 40 bars, 2 restaurants and 14 snack bars. Football matches won’t be the only use for Mané Garrincha Eco-arena, as it has also been designed to host events, concerts, conferences and meetings.

National Mané Garrincha Stadium

National Mané Garrincha Stadium. Photo: Bleacher Report

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Research by the Centre for International Climate & Environmental Research in Oslo, has addressed the conflicting goals of protecting the Amazonian Rainforest and the consumption of agricultural products, leading to more deforestation. They looked to the reasons why these trees are being cut down.

The paradox of some countries both paying for the Amazon Rainforest to be maintained and proving the catalyst for its loss due to increased buying and consumption of agricultural products, which result in detrimental land use change occurring, is now sadly evident.

Lead author, Jonas Karstensen explains that, “Countries are putting more and more pressure on the Brazilian Amazon by consuming agricultural products; and by doing this they are undermining efforts of protecting that same forest. This needs to change. Brazil’s problem is now our global problem.”

They concluded that approximately 30% of deforestation has been a result of trade, in particular the demand for Brazilian soy beans and beef, which dominate the country’s agricultural sector.

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The Awá Indigenous Tribe from the Amazon rainforest is considered one of the most endangered groups in the world, according to Survival International (survivalinternational.org). The tribe caught the world’s attention last year after actor Colin Firth added his recognisable voice to a campaign by Survival International, to help preserve both the tribe and their indigenous culture & traditions.

After numerous generations thriving in areas almost entirely isolated from the outside world, and our own ‘Westernised Society’, they have found a way to live a contented hunter-gatherer lifestyle in harmony with their natural surroundings. Although, now this existence is being threatened by external influences, driven by aggressive and extensive land use change.

The triple threat of logging companies, livestock breeders or ranchers and settlers has taken its toll; and according to the video published by Deutsche Welle in August 2012, which you can see below, they have lost approximately 30% of their state and federal protected land, and may even face extinction, as a result of this cultural encroachment and the use of intimidating pistoleros.

Professor Wolfgang Kapfhammer, an expert in South American Indigenous Cultures, from Marburg University in Germany explains that “ecologically, contrary to popular belief, the Amazon contains relatively little food, which is often sparsely located across large areas. This means that the nomadic Awá tribe require large areas in which to survive.” Due to outside influences, the tribe’s ability to continue this traditional way of life is increasingly under threat.

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Source: G1

The meeting of the Oceanic waters with the Amazonas River forms big waves.          Source: G1

In periods of full and new moon, especially in March and April, when the Atlantic sea level rises and goes against the waters of the Amazonas River, in the Amazon Basin, the Pororoca occurs.

The natural phenomenon is a tidal bore with waves up to 5 meters high that travel around 50km upstream and last up to one hour and a half. As the waves go upriver, at speeds of 30km/h, they tear apart trees and provoke the erosion of the river banks.

The noise that the waves form, usually 30 minutes before its arrival to the shore, explains the origins of its name. Pororoca comes from the indigenous Tupi words poroc-poroc, which means “great destructive noise”.

Source: mgmsurf.com

Surfers from different countries come every year to the National Pororoca Surfing Championship. Source: mgmsurf.com

As the phenomenon is more intense in the Amazonian Region of Brazil, it has attracted the attention of many tourists and surfers from all over the world, who come every year to the Brazilian State of Pará for the National Pororoca Surfing Championship, in the municipality of São Domingos do Capim.

However, surfing the Pororoca may be dangerous as the brown, murky, waters may contain tree debris and the presence of the local wild animals, such as alligators and snakes.

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Continuing with our posts about the trip in February to the Amazonas State, we can show you a few more pictures, this time taken during a visit to the Axinim Community. The village is based in the Municipality of Borba, and within Celestial Green Ventures’ Trocano Araretama Conservation Project area.

Arrival to Axinim, which is currently only accessible by boat

Arrival to Axinim, which is currently only accessible by boat. All Photos: CGV

Located alongside the Madeira River, halfway between the cities of Borba and Autazes, the Axinim is one of the most populated communities within the project area. According to data from Amazônia Livre Institute (IAL), the community has around 300 families, with a population of approximately 1,200 people.

Students arriving from school, located in a different community

Students arriving from school, located in a different community

Kite running is a very popular activity among children in the Amazonas

Kite flying is a very popular activity among children in the Amazonas

Recently, there have been a few developments in the region, such as the introduction of mobile network coverage, which also enables access to the internet. However, further investments brought by the REDD+ Project in education and health services, as well as in infrastructure, will help increase the quality life for the local population.

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The community has electricity but still needs investments for infrastructure improvements

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Local church

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Our partners in Brazil from Amazônia Livre Institute (IAL) are currently discussing the possibility of working closely together with the trade union for the shipbuilding industry from the Amazonas State, best known by the abbreviation of its name in Portuguese Sindnaval.

Sindnaval was founded in 1962 as an employee association and became a trade union later in 1983. Today Sindnaval has members from approximately 60 companies, which means it represents around 12 thousand people.

According to the president of IAL Waldemar de Lima, the partnership could bring benefits to Celestial Green Ventures conservation projects. “Since one of the proposals of the projects is to bring investments for the acquisition of new boats, the partnership with Sindnaval could facilitate the contacts with the supply chain,” explains Waldemar.

Several communities within the project areas can only be reached by water, so having appropriate boats is of huge importance to improve the accessibility of those places, and consequently improve health and education services, and even encourage ecotourism activities.

Waldemar also believes that through this partnership, the organisations could set out strategies to offer training to local boat drivers. “Although several community members have and drive their own boats, only a few of them hold proper licenses to do so. When properly trained and certified, these people would be qualified to transport tourists within the vast project areas”, highlights Waldemar.

Waldemar de Lima, Antônio Fernandes, and José Souza, from IAL, in a meeting with the president of Sindnaval (centre), Matheus Araujo, last week. Photo: JMendonca/Sindnaval

Waldemar de Lima, Antônio Fernandes, and José Souza, from IAL, in a meeting with the president of Sindnaval (centre), Matheus Araujo, last week. Photo: JMendonca/Sindnaval

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During my recent trip to the Amazonas State, I had the opportunity to visit a few communities located within our project areas. One of them was the São José Community, which is part of the Trocano Araretama Conservation Project.

Boys from the community. Improved education is one of the Trocano Araretama Project priorities

Boys from the community. Improved education is one of the Trocano Araretama Project priorities

The community is only accessible by boat. In a small boat like the one we used (pictured below), the journey through the Madeira River from Borba City takes around 90 minutes.

Boat which took us through the Madeira River

Boat which took us through the Madeira River

Fishing, rubber extraction and cocoa harvesting are among the main activities of the local working population.

Hugely popular during the late 1800s and the first half of the 20th Century, rubber extraction is still one of the main activities for several communities in the area

Cocoa harvesting is another income source. On a more personal note, that was the first time I have ever tasted the cocoa fruit. Although it does not taste at all like chocolate, I have to say the flavour is pretty good!

Cocoa harvesting is another income source. On a more personal note, this was the first time I have ever tasted the cocoa fruit. Although it does not taste at all like chocolate, I have to say the flavour is pretty good!

As in several other isolated communities in the Amazonian region, one of the biggest challenges for the people of São José is trading with middlemen or intermediaries. If these communities don’t have direct access to the main consumer markets (such as in the state capital Manaus), they end up selling their produce for a lower price to these traders, who end up with most of the profits.

In order to facilitate access to the consumer markets, the Trocano Araretama Conservation project will seek ways of improving the organisation of small-scale producers. The proposed creation of community co-ops, involving many small producers, will provide them collectively with a route to market and increased selling power, consequently boosting the local economies of the region.

Pictured above, community members who welcomed us during our visit, together with members of the Borba Municipality, and Amazônia Livre Institute

Pictured above, community members who welcomed us during our visit, together with members of the Borba Municipality, and Amazônia Livre Institute

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