November 15, 2009
I’m very excited to be writing today from the town of Rio Branco in the state of Acre (pronounced “ah-cray”) in the Brazilian Amazon where Linda Adams, Secretary of California EPA; Mike Chrisman, Secretary of California’s Natural Resources Agency; and I are studying the pressures on the rainforest and learning about efforts to prevent deforestation. This study trip is a follow up to the Governors Global Climate Summit and the MOU that was signed by 30 state and provincial leaders from around the world.
We got started early this morning during our four hour layover in the city of Manaus with a visit to Dr. Phillip Fearnside, a leading researcher on climate change in the Amazon. The day was capped with a long visit with Governor Binho Marques and his environmental and forestry directors to understand the tremendous efforts that Acre has undertaken to reduce deforestation while simultaneously addressing the important economic and social issues facing this state in the northwest portion of Brazil. Governor Marques provided our small group with a personal tour of a museum dedicated to the local area that includes a great tribute to the environmental activist Chico Mendes who started and led a peaceful movement to protect the forest until his murder in 1988. His efforts continue to resonate today in Acre, where there is a clear sustainability consciousness.
We are very fortunate to have Dr. Steve Schwartzman from Environmental Defense Fund guiding and helping us here. He has a long history working in the Amazon and has been keenly focused on avoided deforestation issues. I will do my best (cell/internet service allowing) to send short posts along this week on our studies to share will all of you what we are learning here.