02-24-2011, 10:41 AM
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Goodness, I hope not! I agree that considerable more attention needs to be paid to the Amazon ecosystem. Conservationists, ecologists, and passionate people that don't fall into the first two categories need to convince the "important" folks (i.e. large, destructive businesses who are looking for new ways to be "green" and who view philanthropy as a great way to earn more devoted customers) to this cause. The "little guys" (the first 3 categories) can lobby all they want in Congress or from the grassroots level, but the really big changes come when someone with a lot of money gets a vested interest.
It is a holistic approach for sure - taking into account the economy of the area is critical, as is stabilizing the governments and improving infrastructure so that there are more jobs and people aren't forced to rely on habitat destruction as a way of life. All of that has to occur within the boundaries of the cultural and religious traditions, standards, and beliefs of the native people. Collecting and raising ornamental fish is definitely more sustainable than forest destruction practices, but even still this process must be carefully monitored to ensure that individual (and collective) ecosystems' natural balances are not upset and species are not lost forever because of over-collection.
Thanks for posting this, Byron. Really interesting and important stuff.