What I’ve Learned So Far – Block 4 – Amazon Life

I’ve completed my first year studying toward BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, this is what I’ve learned…

This was another block I was really excited about. I remember learning about Brazil in Geography in school and I recall focusing on the rainforest.

The block focused on the size of the Amazon and the countries that share this amazing place, the biodiversity within the region, how the species rely on each other and how its own ‘ecosystem’ works in harmony with the indigenous residents. I’ve always been aware of deforestation and the effects on the environment but I didn’t realise the impact it has on the indigenous people too. They’re homes are being demolished; how would we feel if our homes were being demolished? Especially, without even being consulted? 

The block goes in to details the repercussions of deforestation; landslides, flooding, reduction in CO2 intake, spread of viruses, the focus was the Zika virus, it’s ecosystem water cycle and discoveries of plants for medicinal uses.

I never made the connection with medicines being discovered in these regions are medicines used daily in hospitals and how they were discovered in the first place. The wealth of knowledge possessed by indigenous people is, I believe, worth more than gold. The way they live, hunt, survive has been handed down to them from generation to generation. They have perfected ways to hunt for food, using the resources available to them in the Amazon, they are able to hunt and paralyse an animal. This was later adapted when it was discovered by explorers in the 1800s and later used in operations. We know this as anaesthesia.

During this block in particular, I recall feeling sad about what is happening to this incredibly diverse place and the ripple effect we are causing. Reading about the loss of biodiversity and the damage, I found heart-breaking. 

The main question for the Tutor-Marked Assignment for this was to write an essay maintain the Amazon’s ecosystems on a local and global level and the consequences of their depletion.

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