As much as a quarter of the global burden of disease has been attributed to poor environmental quality, so much so that analysts have took to the Brazilian Amazon to study the ways environmental health influences human disease.
Subhrendu Pattanayak of Duke University and her team have gathered data on 700 municipalities throughout the Amazon examining three major disease types that can be linked to environmental quality: Malaria, Diarrhoea and Acute respiratory infection.
The report showed that diagnosis of these diseases were lower in strictly protected areas, with Malaria rising in areas with roads and mines and Diarrhoea having a lower impact in indigenous areas.
“Strict land protection slows deforestation and discourages people who are susceptible to malaria and other diseases from interacting with the forest. That helps these areas to serve as a barrier to disease transmission. By contrast, malaria incidence was higher when roads were present. Roads did appear to have a benefit when it came to diarrheal diseases, perhaps because they link people to medical services, the researchers posit” says co-author Erin Sills.
Overall, the team estimates that Brazil’s move to increase protected areas led to reductions of malaria, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections by 6%, 2%and 1.5% respectively.
Brazil now faces the challenge of consolidating its network of protected areas and preventing illegal logging and deforestation, says Sills although the study also proves the well-functioning ecosystem of protected zones is ‘paying off by keeping people from falling sick.’
Source Smithsonian Mag
Large food retailers as well as agribusinesses are amongst big companies to recently make zero-deforestation pledges.
A recent study confirmed that public agreements made by beef suppliers in Brazil have had a real impact on rancher and slaughterhouse behaviour in the Amazon. A team led by Holly Gibbs of the University of Wisconsin-Madison observed data on land use in the state of Pará before and after a 2009 agreement by major meatpacking companies to remove deforestation from their supply chain. The researchers found that the amount of Amazon deforestation amongst ranch owners they studied had been cut in half.
The agreement, signed by meatpacking companies imposed a moratorium on buying cattle linked to deforestation in Brazil where nearly two-thirds of deforested land is used as cattle pasture. They also agreed to monitor their supply chain and only purchase cattle from farms in Brazil’s from an environmental registry, Cadastro Ambiental Rural (CAR). In addition they also confirmed that they would not purchase any cattle from farm that had recently cleared forest land or in any way employed slave labour. Before this agreement, approximately 40% of direct suppliers were linked to recent deforestation. By 2013, the number had fallen to less than 4%.
Rearing cattle in Brazil is a complex process whereby cattle are calved, reared and fattened in different locations before arriving at slaughterhouses. Meatpacking companies that supply beef to food giants are just one in a number of supply-chain that relies on an assortment of cattle suppliers.
This makes tracing cattle and ensuring that it is entirely deforestation-free nearly impossible. However, the agreement quickly changed the behaviour of all major suppliers to JBS-Friboi, the researchers found.
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13) Mortgage Availability – Brazilians now have access to controlled mortgage finance. With decreasing interest rates and more Brazilians having a higher net spendable income, mortgage lending is booming. This is having an effect on property availability and consequently an increase in the value of Brazilian Real Estate across the nation. The Brazilian government expects the Brazilian mortgage market to grow 600% by end of 2014, with total mortgage values reaching 12% of the Gross National Product.
14) Entry into Brazil becoming Easier – A new law recently published has introduced an electronic visa processing system for certain foreign nationals in certain visa categories. Foreigners travelling to Brazil on business, tourism or artists/athletes visas can now process their entry permits through an electronic application system which avoids having to visit a Brazilian consular post abroad. Although this law is immediate, forthcoming regulations will clarify eligibility criteria and procedures regarding applications. The faster electronic processing will benefit the entertainment industry and companies that frequently need to send their employees to Brazil on business trips as well as tourist visitors from certain countries and those wishing to invest n Brazil.
15) Wealth Creation – Brazil now boasts the most multi-millionaires in Latin America and is ranked tenth in the world, according to a study reported by local media. With a strong economy and Brazil encouraging international investment, Brazil now has now over 1 million multi-millionaires as well as a growing number of entrepreneurs. The middle class sector is also seeing a large increase in business activity due to them have access to finance meaning that this trend is set to increase. With this wealth creation comes more new businesses, jobs and further reasons to invest in Brazil.
16) Becoming Greener – A while ago Brazil was seen as the bad boy when it came to green issues especially deforestation. Apart from leading the way in bio fuels, bio fuel technology and being in the top 10 for best country for wind power development, Brazil has cut the rate of deforestation in the Amazon by nearly 80 percent from a high of 27,800 square kilometres in 2004 to 5,800 square kilometres in 2013. Although some still see this as too high, Brazil is now seen internationally as the country that has made the world’s largest contribution to mitigating climate change. Brazil has achieved this by not only introducing law enforcement actions but by protecting more land mass areas some the size of Greenland. Investors large and small see green issues as a matter of importance as this has an influence on inward investment. Brazil’s political will and experience will hopefully pave the way for other countries to become more successful in their efforts to improve climate change.
With attention on the Brazilian election, new reports show that Global Development changes under the presidencies of Lula and Rousseff’s ‘Worker’s Party’ governments have drastically reduced deforestation in the Amazon over the last 10 years.
The report noted that Brazils success in the last decade in bringing its deforestation frontier under control has been ‘astonishing’ following an 80% decrease from a high of 27,800 km² in 2004 to 5,800 km² in 2013. However, despite the decrease the report noted that deforestation in the Amazon is still much too high.
Brazil is now applauded internationally as the country that has made the world’s largest contribution to mitigating climate change and has done so by protecting more areas of indigenous lands in addition to law enforcement actions.
That along with the implementation of satellite monitoring and the 2008 Amazon Fund financing projects has aided in a substantial reduction of deforestation and promoted sustainability.
“South Americas largest Nation has achieved this by demonstrating that success is possible, creating new technology and policy measures and also establishing a model of international payment-for-performance finance that is acceptable to both domestic and international constituencies for sustainable development” says the authors of the report.
The Amazon Rainforest, known as Amazonia, covers 7,000,000 km² of South America, 60% of which is contained in Brazil with the remaining stretched over 8 adjoining countries. The Amazon represents over half of the earth’s remaining rainforests and comprises the largest and most bio-diverse tropical rainforest in the world.