Scientist speaks up
for the Amazon
Posted December 2, 2005

Vitoria Drost
Staff Writer


Environmental issues have become a major concern worldwide and professors at the University of La Verne addressed why carbon dioxide, land use change, and global warming are important, in a series of lectures throughout the week of Nov 17.

Marcos Pedlowski, a Fulbright Scholar and Brazilian environmental scientist from Northern Fluminense State University spoke in classes and to the public on “The Amazon Deforestation, and Climate Change: Local and Global Connections.”

“Our first step is to be concerned locally with these issues,” Pedlowski said. “But we also need joint enterprises to solve this problem. One way is to stop the illegal imports of lumber from Brazil and the other is to help the poor people.”

Pedlowski explained that, in Brazil, one man owns seven cows and one of those cows feeds on one acre of land. One can imagine how much land is being taken away to feed the people and this is a concern for global warming, he said. Another factor is the illegal building of roads by the government.

“If we made a comparison between other areas of the world where deforestation is going on, such as Indonesia and Africa, it’s even a bigger problem because they have a lot of timber there,” Pedowski said.

English major Andrew Moore thought that the topics discussed were important.

“Two very good things discussed were first, there needs to be a clear vision for the future and second, it’s a matter of if we could stop the multi-national corporations that control most of the land it would benefit the environment by stopping this corruption in politics,” Moore said.

At an open discussion after the lecture Philip Hofer, director of the International and Study Abroad Center, asked if any countries stood up to the deforestation problems.

“We have this supposedly pragmatic rational position that we have the right to go and use the resources there,” Pedowski said. “ We may have some wishy wash approach to some policies for environmental protection because we follow the program by building roads, waterways, and integration and urbanization is a problem.”

Business major Colleen Sullivan thought the presentation gave a lot of information.

“I had no idea that the Amazon was different forests put together and that the roads and lumber industry were being done illegally,” Sullivan said.
“Also, I’m not sure it convinced us that people will change their ways of life to make it a better place.”

Pedowski said that in Bridgeport, Connecticut there is a furniture store and the owner boasts that he sells mahogany furniture. The problem is that, in many countries, mahogany logging is illegal. Its in danger of extinction and, in the case of the Amazon It’s illegally logged.

Psychology major Laura Pielemeier attended the lecture and learned about the relationship between deforestation and environmental issues.

“I was not educated on global warming, “Pielemeier said. “I found the information very helpful on how it relates to deforestation.”

Another basic issue that effects the environment is recycling and where our waste goes.

“We don’t think about our trash and recycling. We need to be responsible.” Pedowski said. “We are required to think about it because when you don’t think about your trash some Latino and black neighborhoods in California will feel the effect, because that’s where most trash is dumped.”

Pedowski stresses that our future is at stake if we don’t help to solve these issues.

“The solutions are never easy,” Pedowski said. “We’re going to have to make a lot of adjustments in natural policies, global regimes, trade, distance, and economics.”

Immigration is another major issue because the Amazon is becoming the last distant aid for people in Brazil, so they are forced to flee their homeland.

“If you think about it you have about one million Brazilian residents between New York and Boston,” Pedowski said. “It’s one of the fastest growing illegal populations in this country.”

Vitoria Drost can be reached at vitoriadrost@hotmail.com.

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