University of McGill - Bachelor of Arts INTD 200 BROWN IS THE NEW GREEN Impact of globalization on the Amazonian Rainforest Simon Dos Santos SI:260776649
“Globalization is not a monolithic force but an evolving set of consequences – some good, some bad and some unintended”, according to congressman John Larson. Globalization - a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nation1–has been able to expand economies around the world, increasing development and livelihoods. However, it has come at the expense of the quality of the environment and of traditional societies. The exploitation of resources on a global scale has pushed authorities to improve and enforce regulations. The Brazilian Amazon has been marred by deforestation through illegal logging activity and land exploitation rising from globalization. A powerhouse in commodity exports, its rainforest is the largest carbon sink, only after the oceans, and home to a rich area of biodiversity. It is imperative for the overall quality of life on the planet and the livelihoods of indigenous population for the rainforest to be exploited in a sustainable manner. This essay will explore how the breakout of Brazil’s agricultural sector on an international scale in the 1960s, and still growing strong today, led to the deforestation of the Amazon in search of economic expansion and employment possibilities at the expense of the climate, the ecosystem and the displacement of indigenous tribes. Historically, the deforestation emerged through the dictatorship in the 1960s, which attempted to get more of the country involved economically. The government was subsidizing farmers who decided to exploit land in the rainforest for cattle ranches2. Foreign direct investment by the World Bank, the biggest lender for development projects, led to the opening 1The Levin Institute. “What is Globalization?”. 2016. 2Butler, Rhett. “The Trans-Amazonian Highway.” Mongabay
the Trans-Amazonian highway, a prime example of time-space compression, as it permitted rapid economic integration at the global scale, by lowering the costs and the speed of transportation and communication, leading to a massive volume of transactions in goods and services beyond borders3. The building of the highway was imperative in the economic expansion of the region, clearly at the expense of the rich biodiversity found in the Amazon. Cattle was a prime export, playing a large role in the economic development of Brazil and land exploitation only increased. The growing role of Brazil on an international scale welcomed multinational corporations. Clearly, there was now corporate social responsibility - corporate regulations that strive for a safe and ethical working environment4- as ethical concerns emerged, from environmental degradation and indigenous access to land and resources. Pressure from overseas forced the imposition of the forest code, which set limits on the land use in areas with high biodiversity. However, it was rarely enforced and the punishments were often neglected.