July 10, 2008
We all tend to feel better in the natural environment - so why are we working so hard to destroy it? - Dr Michael Dixon, Chairman, NHS Alliance (quoted in Sustainable Development Commission 'Healthy Futures' publication, March 2007). The environmental ethical issue that will be addressed is the problems that are caused by the unethical destruction of the rainforest. The immediate causes of rainforest destruction are clear. The main cause of total clearance are agriculture and in drier areas, fuel wood collection. The main cause of forest degradation is logging. Mining, industrial development and large dams also have a serious impact. Tourism is becoming a larger threat to the forest. A lack of consideration for the environmental impact of a multi-billion-dollar initiative to integrate 12 South American economic hubs could result in the disappearance of the Amazon rainforest within 40 years (Anonymous, December 2007).
In the Paleozoic era, all of the land was part of a unique continent, the Pangaea. Salt water washed the Amazon region. The end of the Paleozoic marks the incorporation of the Amazon River basin to the continent. In South America they split into cultures that started to live in the mountains of the Andes, in the Amazon rainforest and others to the south the Atlantic Forest (Amazon Rainforest History, n.d.).
Hemming looks back at the Royal Geographical Society’s rich history of pioneering exploration and scientific expeditions in the Amazon rainforest; this resulted in discoveries that have shaped people’s modern understanding of the world. In 1835, five years after the Society was founded, its council received an impressive map from a young German by the name if Robert Schomburgk. The Society engaged Schomburgk to explore the interior of British Guiana, which he did with some success. In 1840, Schomburgk received his Society’s gold...