Sustainable Development. The people of the Amazon River basin, who live in rural poverty, have begun

Sustainable Development. The people of the Amazon River
basin, who live in rural poverty, have begun burning and clearing large
sections of the forest. They are doing so to create farmland in order to earn a
living for themselves and their families. But the burning and deforestation
destroys ecosystems of rare plants and animals and contributes to global
warming. As a result, representatives from environmental groups in the United
States and other wealthy countries have traveled to the region seeking to
persuade the locals to cease this practice and pursue a more sustainable
livelihood
»

Sustainable Development. The people of the Amazon River
basin, who live in rural poverty, have begun burning and clearing large
sections of the forest. They are doing so to create farmland in order to earn a
living for themselves and their families. But the burning and deforestation
destroys ecosystems of rare plants and animals and contributes to global
warming. As a result, representatives from environmental groups in the United
States and other wealthy countries have traveled to the region seeking to
persuade the locals to cease this practice and pursue a more sustainable
livelihood based on ecotourism. The people of the Amazon River basin are
offended by these proposals. They point out that North Americans already have
destroyed much of their own forests and become prosperous. “Who are you to
criticize us?” they ask. “It is a luxury to worry about what the weather will
be like a hundred years from now. We have to worry about what we will eat
tomorrow.”

Whose position do you find more persuasive here—the
environmentalists or the people of the Amazon River basin? How would you
balance global concerns about deforestation and global warming against the
subsistence needs of cultures in environmentally sensitive areas?

»