Swathes of the Brazilian rainforest are still being cleared. The pristine rainforest, the lungs of the world, are being decimated. The trees are logged, land cleared for farming and ranching and every day roads creep into its guts opening up more hunting and destroying habitats. The short-sighted devastation is all about money. It is driven by the huge companies who are creaming off the profits.
Chico Mendez was a rubber tapper. He made his living from the rainforest. What he saw appalled him. His livelihood and the whole forest were threatened. He became campaigning to save the rubber trees in the rainforest. He argued for a sustainable use of this massive resource.
In doing this he put himself up against the big business interests of the ranchers, miners, loggers and road builders who were opening up and destroying the forest. He was greatly successful and reached international renown. He made the plight of the rainforest a major focus.
In 1988 he was shot dead in his own house. His murder, by one of the ranchers, should galvanise the rest of us to take up the cause.
The world is being raped for profit. The wild-life is being destroyed. If we allow this to continue we will find that all the ecology of the planet is at risk. We will be destroying our own future.
This is what Chico had to say about it:
‘At first I thought I was fighting to save rubber trees, then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest. Now I realise I am fighting for humanity.’