Brazil and the Environment

Wow! A whole month since my last post. This is mostly because we haven’t done anything too exciting during this time. We visited a new beach (Praia Brava), ate some oysters at Ostradamus (where the oysters are cultivated right off the restaurant)  and finally saw some monkeys…..but that’s about it. So I decided to write about some things I’ve noticed after spending more time here.

Oysters purifying at Ostradamus.

Oysters purifying at Ostradamus.

The one thing that has been particularly frustrating is the lack of interest in the environment. I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of Brazil, so I can only speak about the attitude I’ve seen in Floripa. I should have known something was askew when I was expected to pay to volunteer and then just never heard from the other organization I had been in contact with. I then tried and failed to find a bird guide (or any field guide), which is odd since there is a lot of diversity here. We then found out they dumped untreated sewage into the lovely lagoon until recently. Next we went on a “hike” to Costa da Lagoa that could have been great if there were some look-outs over the lagoon since we knew the views would have been nice.

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And then there’s the litter…..ohh myyy gawwddd. I regularly see people toss cans out of their car windows, cigarette butts are everywhere and bottle caps are pretty much just flair for grass. It’s really quite sad to see how “meh” people can be towards their own back yards. The green spaces I’ve seen have been so littered you need a blanket of some sort to sit down on.

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Tomato plant among construction debris.

Before we came to Brazil, I was under the impression that Floripa would be environmentally oriented and would offer plenty of hiking, tours and parks, especially since half of the island is a preserve. The trails have no signs and you need to be in a group that’s been there before to be safe and not get lost. As for tours, I was really excited to go on whale-watching tours when the Right Whales migrated to the island until I found out some of the tours violate regulations and actually let people touch and put their feet on these endangered animals…niceee. I’m sure there are parks, but finding any information on them is near impossible.

Last but not least, here’s a link about how Brazil is a big participant in finning sharks for shark fin soup. I know this is a pretty negative post, but this is honestly how I feel. Before coming here, I saw this country as a place where I could experience new species and biomes, and instead I will leave in a few weeks sad at the lack of respect people can have for their own parks and lakes. If people have difficulties properly disposing of any type of garbage (poop included), it’s hard for me to imagine those people caring about some distant area that has some animal they have never seen.

I don’t believe this is an educational issue, but an attitude issue. I’m not saying there aren’t people in the US who don’t litter, because there are, but I think it would be a lot harder to find people littering on the sidewalks in front of their houses or the park where their family spends time. I could be wrong, but this is my personal experience.

I know this is a long post (and mostly negative), but this aspect of Brazil has really been bothering me. There are definitely some organizations out there doing good, but I would say I’ve come across more useless/half-ass organizations than anything.