Brazil '98: Introduction
Brazil '98: Participants
Brazil '98: Map of Brazil
Brazil '98: Itinerary
Brazil '98: Debates
Brazil '98: Sponsors
Brazil '98: Brazil Facts

Where do people fit in?

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.

The 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.
PictureBrazil 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.
However, 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 people.
When 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 Brazil.
This 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.
In 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 you’re 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! You’ve 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. We’d 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. We’d 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. We’d tell you that to try anything different would destroy the ecosystem for ever. Yes, if history had been a little bit different, that’s how it would have turned out. We’d have been providing the stupid advice. We’re not going to listen and we’re going to develop the Amazon."