In 1998 WORLDwrite Brazil exchange participants made their first film. To mark the 10th anniversary the charity has digitised their work and released it here (see film below). Many of the lessons learned and discussion raised remain remarkably pertinent 10 years on.
WORLDwrite is organising an exchange visit between European students
and students from the Amazon region of Brazil.
first leg of the exchange - the Brazilian Amazon Youth Exchange '98 -
will take place in July and August 1998. This pack is designed to complement
this part of the exchange.
is most commonly presented in the developed West as a country of extreme
and often brutal contrasts. We are told that Brazil is a nation with an
abundance of wealth but that this is unfairly distributed; that it combines
conditions akin to those found in the poorest regions of Africa with the
richest lifestyles to be had in the developed West; a country which can
present the best football spectacle in the world and the most delirious
street party, yet cannot feed its own people.
there is one contrast in Brazil which many in the Western developed nations
celebrate and wish to retain. This is the contrast between Brazil's industrialised
south east and its Amazonian region. For Western environmentalists the
relatively undeveloped character of the Amazon is positive for Brazilians
and for the rest of the world. In contrast, Brazil's industrial areas
are condemned for their destructive impact upon the environment and Brazil's
Brazil attempts to develop the Amazon region in order to turn it into
a resource, it is condemned for the environmental destruction that this
would inflict upon the Amazon and the world.
Is this fair
or true? On this exchange we will look at why Brazil is criticised
for being a grossly unequal society and is then denied the right to use
its resources in the Amazon which could help to overcome its problems.
The exchange will explore the impact of logging, cattle ranching, road
building and dam construction on the Amazon. We will analyse the issues
of global warming, biodiversity loss, the Indian Amazon region and ask
young Brazilians what sort of development they want for the Amazon and
pack is intended to equip exchange participants with knowledge of the
facts and debates surrounding the controversial subject of development
in the Amazon. Its is also for use in schools to stimulate discussion
on these important issues. A
major fund raising campaign has been initiated for the exchange. We would
also like to establish an internet link-up with Brazilian schools.
late August 1998, students involved in the Ghana Youth Exchange and Brazilian
Amazon Youth Exchange '98 and other students from around the world will
meet to share their fresh knowledge and experience at WORLDwrite's Global
Freedom international summit and festival. This
is an ambitious project which aims to promote international understanding
and equality for all. It needs your assistance. Everyone can get involved
in making it a success. For
more information about the Brazilian Amazon Youth Exchange '98, volunteering
for the project and school presentations, please complete and return the
forms in this site. For additional information telephone Ceri Dingle
on (00 44) 0181 985 5435.
A few years
ago, a Brazilian agronomist,
sitting at his
desk in the
Ministry of Agriculture,
spoke to one
of our correspondents thus:
"A science journalist. I expect youre just like the scientists and bureaucrats from the World Bank who come here. You are all in Brazil to stop us exploiting the wealth of the Amazon. What arrogance! Youve already destroyed all the forests in your own nations and so you come and lecture us about the environment! For once, let me give you a lecture. Let me try telling you a story that might make you think.
Imagine that the history of the world had been different. Imagine that the renaissance, the explosion of scientific knowledge and the agricultural revolution has not taken place in Europe but in one of the tropical countries. Imagine that the many centuries of experimentation that your scientists, farmers and breeders have put into agriculture for temperate regions had instead gone into developing agriculture for tropical regions. The Amazon would now be the breadbasket of the world and Brazil the richest country on earth.
Instead of your ecologists coming here with their romantic nonsense, it is our ecologists that would be handing out unwanted advice. Wed visit the vast prairies of the United States, like you visit the Amazon, and tell you that there was no chance of ever building farms there, that the winters were too hard and that there were not enough nutrients in the soil to support regular harvesting. Wed tell you that your only hope was to learn from the native Indians. You should leave the prairies to grass and each year just hunt a number of buffalo guided by strict ecological principles. Wed tell you that to try anything different would destroy the ecosystem for ever. Yes, if history had been a little bit different, thats how it would have turned out. Wed have been providing the stupid advice. Were not going to listen and were going to develop the Amazon."