How does the Amazon River Influence the Growth of South America

This topic cannot be discussed without first stating some facts about the Amazon River. In addition to being the world’s second largest river it is also the world’s widest river producing 20% of all the freshwater that is poured into the oceans of our world. The Amazon has tributaries which flow through the countries of Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Columbia, Bolivia and Ecuador before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean.

This sheer magnitude and size of the Amazon should make it a major tourist attraction for Latin American economy but unfortunately this is not the case due to various adverse factors that the region represents. These are lack of tourist facilities because of the fear of tropical diseases and animals in the region and there is also the fear of drug dealers who operate in the area. If the above factors were taken into serious consideration and a safe and informative tourist infrastructure provided for all foreign visitors then the Amazon would provide a major source of income for its native inhabitants.

The Amazon River has the world’s largest rainforest and is home to more than one third of the world’s species. The heat, rain and humidity make for a rich ecosystem for many animals and plants and there are new species still being discovered. The Amazon rainforest being the biggest forest in the world produces about 20% of the world oxygen. This region also has untouched oil and natural gas reserves which make it a very attractive prospect for international energy companies. Though this would be an important way forward for the growth of Latin America it comes at a cost because the logging done to make way for the drilling companies is affecting the climate of the world. Global warming as it is called is now an accepted part of the planet and environmentalists are reminding us of this fact constantly. The growth of Latin American economies has therefore been hampered because the natives and groups of environmentalists are sabotaging any efforts to start drilling programmes.

In some parts of Latin America energy projects have been started and are successful contributors to the growth of the economies of these countries. Peru has one of the largest energy projects in Latin America, Ecuador’s oil exploration accounts for one half of its exports and Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of soya beans. The activities of these large companies have also affected the region adversely due to their unethical methods of disposing of wastes that result from their activities and because of this the rivers in the region are now polluted and pose health risks to the local populations.

Any growth in the Latin American countries which affects the rainforest will be contributing to the global warming problems already been faced by our world. The only alternative is to make sure that new trees are actively planted so that vast areas of land are not left deforested. It is a fact that every time a tree is cut the stored carbon dioxide is released in the air and this will affect the climate adversely.

This is therefore a difficult economic situation to be in and maybe the best way forward is to encourage the natives of Lain America to use their skills and knowledge and develop industries like native crafts and jewellery to boost the income of the poor people who make up the largest part of the populations of these countries. These native people also have knowledge of the plants and trees which make up the Amazon region and these skills should be studied before they are lost forever to the world.

Even though statistics show that the economic growth of these countries has been steadily increasing it is a small part of the population that has reaped the benefits of this growth. These are the land owners who have sold their land for development and have therefore reaped the rewards. The rest of the population is extremely poor and there is social unrest, high crime rates and corruption is rife. It is this group of people that have to be helped to raise the standard of living in the Latin American countries as a whole. Maybe the answer also lies in good communication with the energy giants and the native leaders who can come to some sort of an agreement to allow oil exploration and the like but with full participation in the rewards by the local people of that region, and always with a view of practising methods that will be least harmful to the environment.