The River Amazon was the subject of a recent talk given to the Bakewell and District Probus Club by member Roger Taylor, pictured left, who had travelled on a cruise ship from the mouth of the river for nearly 1,000 miles as far as the city of Manaus. With a total length of some 4,000 miles, the Amazon is second only to the Nile. At its mouth it is over 40 miles wide and the enormous flow of fresh water which it discharges into the sea extends for up to 200 miles from the coast. Having conveyed a sense of the sheer scale of the river itself. Roger continued by explaining that the size of the river is matched by the extent of the tropical rain-forest through which it flows, although human activity through logging and ‘slash-and-burn’ clearance for cattle raising is having a dramatic and destructive effect on the forest.
On average, 1.5 acres is being destroyed every second, and already an area the size of France has been cleared.
Also at risk from this encroachment are the indigenous peoples of the forest who are being displaced and whose traditional way of life and intrinsic knowledge of their environment are being lost.