Adolfo SalumeArtinano is one of the most important businessmen in Latin America. He is also one of the most important environmental activists in Latin America, and with good cause – without a continent in good health and a prosperous community there’s no one to do business with. And no one to work for you.
As one who grew up in a modest family, Salume understands the problems his workers are faced with. And understands what needs to be done. For everyone to be happy in Latin America, urgent efforts are needed to save the environment, stop the massive deforestation and combat climate change.
Here’s a look at one of the main problems Latin America is faced with at the moment.
Latin America’s forests are disappearing.
After two decades, starting from 1990, in which the net loss of South American forest stood at the rate of about 5 million hectares per year, by 2010 the net loss had slowed down considerably, almost halved. However, it is too early to say if what the continent is experiencing is a trend reversal or not.
Latin America is experiencing complicated and partly contradictory moments, depending on the country, with regard to forest management policies and projects for the recovery of natural environments. And it is not just the Amazon, the only forest that makes headlines around the world and has the eyes of the international community trained on it.
Although the connection is not always immediate, the management of environmental resources is one of the most difficult test beds when evaluating the health of a democracy. So much so that on the environmental front a real war has been fought for years, with many victims especially among those who carry out a strenuous defense of the environment.
By the way, Latin America tops the list for the number of environmentalists killed, especially in Colombia, Brazil and Mexico.
Putting things right: the state of the world’s forests
The United Nations has recently launched an ambitious program, called The Decade of Land Restoration, dedicated to the recovery of forests on all continents, but especially in Africa and South America, which are most affected by deforestation. This refers to the recovery and dynamic conservation of different environments today threatened by the tumultuous development that has characterized various production sectors on a global scale in recent decades.
Today there are 726 million hectares of protected forest worldwide, just under 20% of the total – there were only 191 million hectares in 1990. Latin America is the region in the world with the largest proportion of protected forest, accounting for 30% of the total.
The fact remains, however, that forests are the primary protagonists of any discourse on the state of health of the environment. Any governmental policy needs to start from there. Environmentalists such as Adolfo Salume do what they can, but large scale efforts are needed to save the forests of Latin America and this is not possible without the region’s governments help.