Burger King of the Jungle

It’s hard to be optimistic about the future of our planet when the rain forest that provides so much of the earth’s oxygen and carbon reduction is now being torn down to become home of the Whopper.

The symbolism of a planet in peril is staggering, not to mention the reality of it all. The Amazon Rain Forest is now home to the Whopper, thanks to the enormous Belo Monte Damn project, that scientists warn is putting the future of the rain forest in peril.

But hey, that’s progress, as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stated at a recent visit to the region. In addition to Burger King, there’s a Costco and a large shopping mall with a movie megaplex. It is a classic pave over paradise to put up a parking lot moment. On the other hand, many Brazilians do see the development as progress because it provides jobs and leisure.

Americans provided an ominous blueprint for the world, gutting the country of its vast forests and building a whole mess of parking lots along the way. Politicians and the general public alike all want “progress,” but what is that exactly? It probably means various things to various people but the dictionary states that progress is “forward or onward movement toward a destination.” So, what exactly is our destination? One where we live a better life on a healing planet, or one awaiting our extinction on a dying planet?

It is very hard to push for global change when countries are culturally different, at different stages of development, and hold differing outlooks regarding their natural resources. Then there is science, full of dire warnings that always seem to be changing. Read any article on climate change and you can find at least one quote from scientists along the lines of “worse than previously thought.” But it was the same scientists who had made the previous predictions, so are they right now, then, or not correct at all?

I am not discounting science, but I don’t need complex research to tell me that destroying the Amazon Rain Forest to make way for shopping malls and fast food restaurants is not healthy for the planet, or those eating at the fast food restaurants for that matter. We are at a point in human existence where decisions made in certain countries could radically alter the chances for human survival. Do we form, as Albert Einstein advocated long ago, a world government? The prospects of that seem impossible.

People instinctually rebel against top down solutions, so maybe we need to continue to plant the seeds and cultivate grass roots efforts across the planet and get all the separate organizations, such as the Environmental Defense Fund and Greenpeace, to put forth coordinated efforts. Maybe call it the Earth Health Organization. We need to start conversations with our friends and neighbors in a manner that avoids discounting other’s beliefs.

Mark Twain once said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Well it’s high time we do something about it. Climate change that is.

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