Page 45 - On the Trail of Elizabeth May
ISSUE : Issue 53
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/1/1
On the Trail of Elizabeth May CONTINUED FROM PAGE 26 was founded by a group of anthropologists at Harvard who were interested in indigenous peo? ple. And over the 15 years that they've been operating, their perspective has shifted from just looking at people, to realizing that pro? tecting their habitat, protecting their tradi? tional lifestyle, means defending their land rights, and protecting the forest, in the case of tropical forest people. And they have come up with a marketing strate? gy. Basically along the lines of what Chico Mendes advocated before his death, was that ar? eas of the rain forest be marked out as what he called "extractive reserves." So you'd have an area of forest that was protected. In other words, no one could burn it down, no one could go and do gold mining, no one could flood it. But that didn't mean that no economic activity could happen. You'd still have the rubber tap? pers coming in and tapping the rubber from the trees. Rubber tapping is almost like maple sug? ar tapping. I mean, the latex keeps dripping out over the years. They can go back to the same trees over and over; they don't have to cut down trees. They go to the same trees, so it • s sustainable. So the same area of forest could be an extractive reserve producing rub? ber, producing Brazil nuts, producing cashews, producing pharmaceuticals. A lot of the phar? maceuticals that we now use came from tropical forest plants. And we don't even begin to know what (those plants) could (produce). So Cultural Survival is marketing Brazil nuts to an ice cream company in the States. Which means that Cultural Survival is turning into sort of a nut broker, buying from local people in Brazil, 12 tons of Brazil nuts every two months, and having the profits from that go back into the area to develop local coopera? tives. Working ultimately towards the goal that the whole production line, including the process of roasting the Brazil nuts before they leave the country--that, right now, is controlled by a few wealthy families--but to get that kind of facility closer to where the extractive reserves might be. And then getting them to the market where people will pay the most for them. Where people are identifying their conscience in wanting to help the rain forest with buying a good product. So Cultural Survival in Canada will keep work? ing on that, trying to market rain forest products directly to Canadians, plus raising money in Canada, continue to help individual tribes that need support. And they'll continue to help indigenous people make the case for their land rights, which is basically legal cases that need to be miade to make sure that the new Brazilian constitution--which is quite progressive if it's actually applied--is actu? ally lived up to in the spirit and the letter of the constitution. Then all kinds of Indian lands would be demarcated as Indian lands, and they'd be--at least theoretically--protected, from miners and landless peasants who want to burn it. and (from) flooding. It's complicated, but I feel much more hopeful about it. Before I went to Brazil, before I got involved in all this--from what I knew about Brazil--I regarded it as one of the planet's worst test cases. It seemed too bleak. You know, how are you going to persuade We're Committed to the Cape Breton Public on Behalf of CHRYSLER CANADA EASTLAND PLYMOUTH Chrysler 539-2280 Dakota 4 X 2 SE and 4 X 4 The Only Truck in the Industry with 7 Years/115,000 Kilometres Warranty ' The Best in the Industry ' EASTLAND Plymouth Chrysler Ltd ?? WE'RE HERE TO STAY! ?? Welton Street SYDNEY Stores To Serve You US' Featuring 'Wfl7 '' Off ARTMINT trONEt The Crossroads of Cape Breton' SolDeys & Shopper's Drug Mart "'''"''' * "' =
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