Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Helicopter ride reveals burning Amazon
Posted By CNN: 4:27 PM ET
  46 Comments
I think it is so sad to see forest land burned away. It is happening all around us. If we all just did a little to help the environment, the world would be a better place.

Happy Valentine's Day Anderson!
Posted By Anonymous Jess, Paris, KY : 4:35 PM ET
Good contrasts in your story from the air. How about adding some maps that illustrate your word pictures of the size of the destruction? At the current rate how much more vanishes in say 5 or 10 years as the population and demands grow?
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista,ar : 4:56 PM ET
The only way you will ever stop such destruction of the environment is by not propping up governments and societies that enable their citizens to do such things. This is primarily done through aid to these countries in the form of 'humanitarian', 'economic' and 'financial' aids. The only way to get people to stop this destruction is to cut off the money and let them die or move somewhere else.
Why did you not report that the government of Brazil allows and encourages this type of deforestation? Why did you not explain hat if the US and EU cut off all forms of aid and trade with Brazil that this type of deforestation would stop? Why did you not report on the efforts in the US to stop deforestation of sustainable forested areas by environmental groups and that this effort causes lumber sources to shift to the unssustainable rainforests of the Tropics? Spotted Owl anyone? It has been proven that many forested areas of the US and Canada could be exploited in a sustainable and healthy manner.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 5:00 PM ET
Humans are such an egotistical and greedy species. We are destroying the most important ecosystems on the planet, the very ones that absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide-and for what? Money. We're going to burn and flood ourselves right off of this planet. Population control-it would be a start.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie Darby, Denham Springs, LA : 5:21 PM ET
WOW, 20 percent of the rainforest already gone, and the fact that all of it might be gone by the end of the century is unbelievable. Thank you for bringing light to these issues. Informing the public is the first step toward conservation. Great job Anderson, as always. Can't wait to see the next installment.
Posted By Anonymous Alma Irvine, Ca. : 5:29 PM ET
Hey Anderson: Very very sad and disturbing to see those images and confirm that we are still ruining our planet in quick mode. Haven't we learned anything? One of our biologist scientist Canadian Jean Lemire recently went on a recent mission on The Sedna IV from August 2006 to Novembre 2006 http://www.sedna.tv/fr/la_mission/science_a_bord.phpin Antartica and he confirmed that many of the experiments they had to perform they couldn't do simply because the ice was melting or too thin, etc...and he saw that many of the animals were moving elsewhere in search of food or shelter and many other scary discoveries. This is sick and alarming in 2007. Why do you think many kids today suffer from asthma or diseases more than before? I try to do my part, recycle as much as possible, walk, bike, and I use a car as part of a carsharing company as little as possible. Small gestures can go a long way but we really have to start NOW because before we know it, we will all be dead sooner that we think...Thanks for reminding us that there is still time to wake up and do someting about it! Josee (Montreal, Quebec)
Posted By Anonymous Josee Fortier, Montreal, Canada : 5:29 PM ET
Debbie,
You are right that population control is the best method for stopping this kind of destruction. But when will you get the liberals to agree that the Brazilians need to stop reproducing so much? It is a woman's right to choose, it is their culutural heritage to have many children.
However there is one small issue that I take with your post: the rainforest does NOT absorb CO2. That is a proven scientific certainty.
There is a simple two step process to stopping rainforest destruction: 1.Stop giving them money and aid, and 2. stop letting them procreate.
Simple, eh?
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 5:35 PM ET
Hey Josee,
All I have to say or your alarmist mentality is: THAW CANADA. I will drive a suv just for you.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 5:42 PM ET
One more quick question: Did Anderson explain why he chose to take a helicopter around the amazon, burning all those evil fossil fuels? Why not a hybrid or electric helicopter? Maybe walked into the rainforest and planted a tree, or handcuffed himself to a bulldozer.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 5:50 PM ET
Perhaps if we all stopped fighting about who's responsible for tearing up the land, sea and air, we'd have plenty of time to actually do someting productive about. We can only change our own behavior, not others. Awareness and doing our part one person at a time. I try to watch how I treat this land, but I can always do better, so thanks for the program. Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 5:55 PM ET
I am amazed at this phenomenon; it appears as though civilization today is just greedy, greedy, and greedy - to think that one day, our planet as we know it will be covered in asphalt.
Posted By Anonymous Josh, Antioch, California : 6:01 PM ET
I am so glad you guys are doing these reports.

"Slash and Burn" agriculture has been used since the Ancient Maya times in the jungles of Belize and we all know what happen to them. Hopefully with all this education we'll learn how to make the earth a better place.

Anderson and Jeff are a great pair too. Keep up the good work.
Posted By Anonymous Kimberly, Los Angeles CA : 6:03 PM ET
I agree w/ the viewer who wrote that forests can be used in a sustainable and healthy manner.

Think about it: God made forests, lush w/ plants from which we can get food and extracts and minerals. Don't people think that man can live in harmony with rainforests? I mean, why is gold in S. African mines? To just lay there forever hidden? NO, minerals are nature's gifts, like treasures we find.

Which makes more sense - to farm, and dwell, and receive the benefits of the rainforest or to cordone it off like a theme park? We have to trust that if we use the treasures of the rainforest wisely, they will continue to replenish and give the gifts to us.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 6:12 PM ET
Anderson,

Can we even imagine the enormity of the continuing destruction, one way is first hand from a helicopter view. The gluttony of mass global demand will get even worse just based on over population, what world wide iniciative needs to be in place before it's to late? Anderson lucky you for now" enjoy the view , breathe in the air and be amazed by the beauty of the animals that inhabit this precious region, relax! enjoy the frogs"
Happy Valentine's Day to you and Jeff!

Maritza
Posted By Anonymous Maritza Munoz San Jose Ca : 6:22 PM ET
Sorry to double post on this video of Anderson's, but I must say that I hope ac360 will have interviews to accompany this series with people who do not consider "An Inconvenient Truth" to be the last word on environmentalism. There are plenty of scientists who have opposing theories. Dr. Michael Parsons' "The Truth Behind the Myth" presents both sides in an honest way, and of course the funny "Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming" is just as valid as Professor Al Gore's book.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 6:24 PM ET
The loss of the Amazon is such a terrible waste. The farmers need more land for cattle to gaze. The lumbermen need tree's for the product's that are made. I am sure at some point the only remaining rainforest will be in the form of a national park or something of that nature. Brazil has so many domestic issues that this problem ranks pretty far down the list. Thank you Anderson Cooper for keeping the spotlight on this important story
Posted By Anonymous Jon Fort Worth, Texas : 6:49 PM ET
Anderson,

I don't see where we have room to talk. We cut and slashed and burned our way across the continent as we moved westward. Strip mining left huge pools of chemicals and scarred earth that you can see today. The central valley of CA was once a sea of Valley Oaks, but now it is a desert in need of irrigation. What role did our forests and vernal pools, now gone, play in global warming? I am not saying that what is happening in the Amazon is right, but we need to be aware that we live in a glass house before we start thowing stones at others. Happy Valentines Day.
Posted By Anonymous Charlotte D, Stockton CA : 6:49 PM ET
Hey Anderson - your segments on the rainforest were extraordinary. I'm so glad you are doing this series and especially the issue deforestation, and it's not just occurring in the rainforest of Brazil. It is heartbreaking to drive through an area which used to be covered with forests to find nothing but mud and clay colored puddles of water.

Could you do a segment on the subject of trees absorbing CO2? Both views have been mentioned here although http://www.arborday.org/trees/benefits.cfm says they do. I also learned a couple of interesting facts:

1. One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.��U.S. Department of Agriculture

2. The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.��U.S. Department of Agriculture

The show was great last night, funny as well as informative.

Happy Valentine's Day to you, and I'm sure Jeff and his frog will also have one. Wasn't he a bit personal with a frog he just met? Hope the frog kingdom doesn't have its own version of 360 cause their lead story tonight will be the 2 American guys that captured one of their own and got too friendly with the frog's bits n pieces on national tv! Sorry, couldn't resist, but it was too funny watching that.

Stay safe down there and please sleep in a hotel room. All those creature noises would freak me out too, and I'd sleep with one eye open wondering if something would end up crawling all over me.
Posted By Anonymous Christina, Windber, PA : 7:02 PM ET
well I can't blame anyone about this because I'm also part of this because I'm always buying unnecessary things which I don't know where is it came from or what is it made of but I'm sure it came from this planet because this is the only source. I always long for convience and I think this is one of the disadvantage.

regards to all staff and crew of AC360 and to Mr. Anderson Cooper.
Posted By Anonymous Jemillex Bacerdo Chicago, IL. : 7:18 PM ET
What struck me as I watched the video was this one question. Why isn't anyone attempting to hold the Brazilian government responsible for allowing the destruction of the rainforest? The even bigger question as I think about this further is how does one change a cultural mindset to encourage landowners to be responsible to their own land and therefore nature by teaching them that plants and animals are never really ours to own and destroy for our own gain but simply to share this planet with in a responsible way? Of course, then it goes back to helping people find a way to make money without harming the land which becomes economic and educational issues for the powers that be in Brazil. And on and on it goes. And one more question. With the Roman Catholic Church being involved in the issues of South America and against the destruction of nature, has anyone bothered to ask why the Vatican hasn't taken a stance on this destruction yet? Or maybe they have, everyone is ignoring them, and I've just missed it. A pretty sad state down there anyway you look at it...
Posted By Anonymous TA Cheramie, Berwick, LA : 7:36 PM ET
Hey Anderson,

Great work. I don't know when the leaders will choose environment and our well being before money? I do a big share in protecting the environment around me and talking about it a lot.

Josee,Mtl did recommend something very amazing. The site for biologist scientist Jean Lemire. Go see it,we could follow him and his crew on the site. Breathtaking pictures.

To Brant,Madison. You are right on the fact that in U.S & Canada we have a lot of forest. But there is a danger with clear cutting.
On the upside,it's less expensive because the entire area is cut down all at once,provide wood at a more competitive price,safer for workers,companies choose wich trees they will replant.
But on the downside,all trees are cut,regardless of age,size,maturity.Damages the entire forest ecosystem,changing it to farm like conditions rather than a forest. Also, greater warming & cooling of the area because there is no ground cover,changing the microclimate. Soil erosion & run off of materials into local streams & lakes.
If done right, it's okay,the forest rejuvenates with what they plant back. But what we are seeing more is that the method is used inadequatly or on sites not proper for that. They don't replant or if they do,they don't do a proper follow up.It's used a lot in Canada,I don't know about in the U.S.
In my province,that's beginning to be a bigger problem.
There's so many things to change everywhere, it could be overwhelming but it as to be done.

Anderson, great job. Hope you won't be creeped out again tonight by the little(or is it huge?) creatures in the forest.

Joanne R.
Laval Quebec
Posted By Anonymous Joanne R. Laval Quebec : 7:57 PM ET
To Brant and Debbie:

I am so glad neither of you with your outlandish and uncivilized ideas are leaders of our free world. I have to believe that education supersedes ignorance any day. I pray both of you get an education about people's lives and feelings. Honestly, I can see your education is limited to say it nicey.

And Brant, really why don't you and Tom Cruise chat and head to a convention together and learn to sterilize the entire planet, put a skirt on and then tell everyone how a woman is supposed to feel and act according to your sad and disturbed plan. Your ongoing blog posts show nothing but your pathetic ignorance for both men and women.
Posted By Anonymous Louise Tampa, FL : 8:21 PM ET
Even though I agree that people need to take "personal responsibility" for their actions, especially when it comes to actions that affect the planet; the vast majority of people will NOT do anything at all to change.

Human (read: Stupid) nature seems to downplay all the bad things. We would rather debate how many kids we can have, even when we can't feed the ones we have now. We would rather let the politicians of these countries (as well as our own) decide what is good and bad and what is right and wrong. There is probably no help for the rainforest.

There is probably nothing that will be done for a number of problems. The climate is changing and slowly but surely wiping up the mess we have made. Where it all ends, we shall see, but I personally think that mankind is on the brink of doomed.

I hate to be so pessimistic but that's where it all seems to go - right down the toilet.

Welcome to the planet, what's next?
Posted By Anonymous SB, Orange County, Ca : 8:36 PM ET
I recently read "1491" by Charles Mann, and learned a lot about this issue. It isn't that slash-and-burn isn't "bad", but the issue is a lot more complicated than it appears. Turns out (if he's right) the ecology there is itself an artifact. Recommend the book to anybody interested in the rain forest and human impacts on it (both now in in pre-Columbian times).
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Albuquerque NM : 8:38 PM ET
It breaks my heart to see the destruction of the rain forrest and displacement of wildlife. This tragedy seems to be falling on deaf ears with all governments. But with the rampant disease in the region (AIDS), corruption, drugs and poverty, no one there really takes it seriously. It's the typical "We need to do what we need to do to surive" mentality without any regard for the world or the next generation. It disgusts me.

By the way Anderson, what is up with you and frogs? My nickname is Miss Froggy - and no - I'm not green. I took offense ;-)
Posted By Anonymous Milena, Ft. Lauderdale, FL : 8:59 PM ET
P.S.
To Brant in Madison:
What exactly do you mean by the "them" in "Stop letting them procreate?"

Sounds kinda racist. Shouldn't controlling the population be a responsibility for all of us?
Posted By Anonymous Norah, West Chester, PA : 9:14 PM ET
Anderson

As you flew over the rainforest and the lush canopy of green edged into the scrapes of Earth and rising smoke I felt sick. It's hard to believe that people looking for a quick dollar would take delight in destroying such pristeen habitats. I could imagine the tropical birds rushing from tree to tree in search of a new home. I could smell the smoke rising from fires of destruction and devestation. Jeff referred to them as "acrid" and I inhaled death as I was taken in by your story. Our planet is fragile and we are on the verge of disaster. Ecosystems, ozone and the polar ice caps are all fastly disappearing. Who's fault is it? Why is it happening? Can we do anything to help?
These are all questions we want answered. Questions we continue to ponder. Thank you Anderson for opening our eyes to the needs of the world around us. It's your connectivity to the pulse of our planet that reminds us to step up and take a stand for our world as we know it.
Posted By Anonymous Zann Martin, Tennessee : 12:07 AM ET
Anderson,
I watched most of your show last evening and found the format very disconcerting. This is a serious issue deserving of serious scientific discussion. The numerous segments about Anna Nicole Smith and "where is Muqtada," interspersed with teasers about the impending piece on the Amazonian rainforest, gave the show a tacky tabloid feel. I was so grateful when you announced that the aligator got away. The last thing I wanted to see was the obligatory aligator wrestling.

You have probably lost me now as a viewer and participant in the discussions.

During the time that I watched, I was disappointed that I had not seen a broader context set with a connection made among the other rainforests on the planet - tropical and temperate- before focusing on the Amazon which was the topic of your show. I did not hear a connection made with the savannah lands, climate and soil, all integral parts of the rainforest ecosystem.

While you're at it, you might mention the ill conceived and ecologically disastrous Jari Project by a wealthy American entrepreneur. He had purchased 4 million acres of tropical rainforest land near the mouth of the Amazon, about 300 miles from Belem. He deforested this land and replaced it with vast farms of fast growing pulp trees for paper production. He thought this would be lucrative since America and Europe had pretty much depleted their forestry resources.

You might also make a connection with the heated environmental rows about clear cutting in America, specifically the Pacific Northwest ( remember old growth/spotted owls)?

My point is that humans have destroyed or disrupted these life-sustaining, irreplacable and irretrievable ecosystems the world over. No point in us derogating Brazilians, poor people, or anyone else. We're in this together now to learn and find solutions because life on this planet depends upon it.

On the question of carbon absorption: it is only one of the many benefits derived from this type of forest. Studies suggest that shorter lived trees may not sequester as much human-produced atmospheric carbon in forest soils as earlier thought.

I hope this feedback is helpful. And please hug a tree for me while you're there (psst - I don't like frogs either). I grew up in a neighboring country, and visits during my late teens to this most magnificient and awe-inspiring forest greatly inspired me in the study and teaching of biology.

Best of luck on this beat.
Posted By Anonymous Doro, Portland, Oregon : 2:22 AM ET
I was raised in N.W. Washington in the fifties. We logged old grouth timber, salvaged other dead and down timber, then burned the slash brush. This enabled the planted trees to start over the cycle and become productive lumber timber. Wild life did not suffer for feed as they liked the young brouse on new growth trees, creeks flowed as they should and there was no flooding downstream. Fish loved the steady and consistant flow of water year round and florished. Later as we were shut out of logging, towns suffered for work, people moved away to find work and the local schools attendance dropped. Fires, floods, and lack of road mattinece caused other isues which fell on local and state to pay for. I know that proper handling, study of areas can coincide with good results. I know that what you see in the vidio looks bad but it requires more study and understanding so that everyone can see positive effects of reforistation, why it was even logged, mined, or used for farming after being cleared. Scareing people befor looking for the positive is counter productive. There are bad managers of logging, mineing, and a host of other uses that the land falls back to. This is not the rule.
Posted By Anonymous morgan adair Wasilla Alaska : 8:07 AM ET
Hi Anderson,
Wow, the Amazon really is beautiful! The key to restoring it will be education- thanks for your efforts!
Posted By Anonymous Pamina, Pittsford, New York : 9:27 AM ET
Deforestation, global warming, air pollution, red tide - long live the human warrior! Why does it take a catastrope for people to wake up? It is up to us. Need I remind you that many of those countries have citizens living in oblivion. They are undereducated and only trying to make a living. I we do nottake matters into our hands it will be too late. Our children;s children will only see green forests, azure oceans and blue skies in paintings, movies and what little will be left of their imagination. Soylent Green anyone?
Posted By Anonymous Karin Shipman, Port Charlotte, FL : 10:38 AM ET
Ah, yes. Alas, we are "digging our own graves" as it were. Humans are so arrogant, selfish and greedy. It's God's way of "Cleansing the Planet". Good riddance to human beings! The ants and all the rest of the creatures and plants will be smiling with relief! Yes, population control. Or, maybe good ol' *Global Thermonuclear Warfare* to help speed up the eradication of those pesky, despicable human beings!! In just a few thousand years, the radiation's gone, and Mother Nature can re-populate the world with less destructive life forms! Woo-hoo!!
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Sacramento, CA : 11:43 AM ET
I agree with Morgan to some extent. The slash and burn technique is vital in many places for agriculture and the maintenance of the ecosytem, but something of this magnitude would NOT have happened naturally. Besides how effective would our world be if nature depended on us to do what it has done since the beginning. It's a sad thing to see where we're headed.
Posted By Anonymous Jemaul, Savannah Georgia : 12:24 PM ET
I chose Brazil as a subject in my public speaking class. I've been researching for weeks on the Amazon. Now you're doing a report. It really makes you wonder how can we protect natural resources when the laws are not being enforced. Brazil is a large producer of pharmaceuticals and exporter of agriculture, but majority of their population are impoverished. It just goes to show that governments all over are more worried about businesses than their own citizens and resources. Thank you for keeping them honest Anderson!
Posted By Anonymous E.J., Atlanta, GA : 1:25 PM ET
If this was a real, serious problem, we would not be trying to extend human life ( medical miracles ! ), marketing Viagra and so on, or save starving kids in Africa, etc. etc.

We would be doing what we could to eliminate a lot of useless baggage.

As it is, this is just a media opportunity to grab ratings and money.
Posted By Anonymous Gene, Monroe, MS : 1:40 PM ET
Corporate greed is destroying the world. It is also is one of the biggest threats to the national security of the United States.

God created an excellent ecosystem and mankind is arrogant/ignorant enough to destroy it.
Posted By Anonymous Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA : 2:15 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

This is just a tiny bit more important than Anna Nicole Smith. I'm glad that at least one reporter on cable news other than Lou Dobbs and Chris Matthews understands this. Thank you!
Posted By Anonymous Jeff, Laguna hills CA : 3:58 PM ET
Deforestation is one of the major factors of global warming. I am surprised that it hasn't been a newsworthy issue until now!
Posted By Anonymous Pam Firebaugh, Eagle Nebraska : 4:16 PM ET
Rainforests are often touted as vast sources of unique chemicals and potential "wonder drugs". I would think it is in the financial interests of pharmaceutical, biotech, and chemical manufacturing companies to preserve these forests for the genetic and chemical diversity within. We should persuade these corporations to allot some of their vast resources to rainforest preservation, up to and including buying and guarding that land. This is one case where the private sector can clearly outperform government preservation initiatives!
Posted By Anonymous Zack, San Jose, CA : 4:31 PM ET
The amazon is nearly the size of the continental U.S. An area of the amazon equal to the size of New Jersey is re-developed every year, according to this report. That sounds alarming on the face. But, I'd bet, that if you compared that to the amount of land re-development that occurs in the U.S., or Europe, or wherever, the picture would gain a whole new perspective. I'm postulating that more square miles of land are cleared and redeveloped right here than down there. Do we go about it more carefully? Maybe. But the problem is that story like this are hyperbolic and manipulative, with little perspective added that your audience can relate to.
Posted By Anonymous Jess, Dallas, Texas : 4:33 PM ET
Hi Anderson,

I've always said that the Amazon is truly a work of wonder! Let's change what we used to recite: "But only God can make... a river...like the Amazon".

I have not forgotten how mystified I was to see the vastness, the trees, those birds, pink dolphins, giant lotus plants!

They must all be preserved and rescued from any man made intervention or political conflicts.

Thank you for this piece.
Posted By Anonymous Mitos Sjolander, Los Angeles, CA : 4:42 PM ET
Once the rain forest turns into a barren desert. The people that cut, burn, and bulldozed it down will be sorry. By the time they realize what they have done it will be to late.
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Los Angeles, CA : 4:48 PM ET
It's a sad, emotional story that makes you want to contribute or do something about it. It would be great if you could add a link to a non-profit or fund (like the Rainforest Conservation Fund) so readers who are also moved and angered by the story can get involved.
Posted By Anonymous Jessica, New York, NY : 5:03 PM ET
Anderson - I am an Brazilian American who grew up in Araguaina. I really appreciate what you are doing. One does not understand the magnitude of the damage being done unless you see it first hand - Through you everybody can now see it first hand.

Keep up the great work as we need more of such great reporting
Posted By Anonymous Clecio Primo, Valencia, California : 5:05 PM ET
Thank you for doing this piece and bringing more attention to the issue of deforestation.
Posted By Anonymous John Eye, Boston MA : 11:58 PM ET
It was heart-wrenchign to watch the deforestation of these century old trees and the lakes of chemicals seepign into the soil. One could only hope subterenean animas did not live nearby (but they probably did). It is abundantly clear that the obliteration of the once pristine Amazon is a definite contribution to the anthropogenic changes in the troposphere and ionosphere. I once saw a documentary on Link TV where an indigenous man employed by the people who have set a domino effect of tree-cutting, cried at the fact that he cut down a tree that had existed before his father and himself did but acknowledged it was one of the few ways that indigenous people who lose their land to farmers can make a living. I was actually looking forward to a special on the science channel later this month about Borneo(still pristine and unscathed for now), but the specials of the Amazon of Brazil clearly show the affects of are much more visually captured, the utterdestruction of this habitat of 25% of the earth's species are more riveting, extremely fecund. One can be told about the hundreds of whales being beached, as Steve Irwin did, or the bleaching of the coral reefs, the loss of weight of polar bears, the migration of flora and fauna away from the equator, but to see the undeniable truth far exceeds hearsay, well done CNN.
Posted By Anonymous Ana, Ocala FL : 3:36 AM ET
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