I am literally at the heart of the deforestation problem here in the Brazilian Amazon. As part of a 4 week independent study project, I am interviewing farmers on the alternative systems of production they have to cattle ranching in Sao Felix do Xingu (SFX). SFX is a municipality larger than the size of Panama in the southern part of Para state. 90% of deforestation here is a result of cattle ranching on private lands.

Its pretty cool to be in a town situated on the Xingu River. Now I have officially floated on 4 Amazon river tibutaries – The Napo (Ecuador), Trombetas (Brazil), Amazon (Brazil), and Xingu. A lot of people in this small city of 48,000+ cannot tell that I am from the United States even with my messed up Portuguese. They think I am from a nearby indigenous tribe. Its all in the eyes I think.

So here I am, very far from Brooklyn, and in a pretty difficult place to get to. Today I spent a large part of the day on a motorcycle cruising through the Amazonian countryside with cattle and deforestation everywhere. It was actually kinda pretty but at the same time sad. Sad because I know it was a rich biodiverse rainforest once and pretty because it looked like a relaxing country side when I did not think about the cattle. Its not the peoples fault that most of the rainforest is gone. Theyre just doing what they gotta do to feed themselves and their families.

From Brooklyn to the Amazon…never even thought about it happening.

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