During an archaeological survey in Roraima State, Brazil, in July 2019, I was mistaken as a Macuxi, an indigenous person, by a landowner, whom quickly expelled me from his property. In my country, landowners often assume indigenous persons enter their property to reclaim the land. It wasn’t until the archaeological coordinator explained I wasn’t an indigenous person in disguise that I was allowed back onto his property. The landowner then proceeded to offer me mangos, oranges, and macaxeira as an apology for his mistake. His use of fruits to make amends for treating me poorly is a common gesture among traditional communities in Amazonia, where the circulation of plants flows with the social interplays of everyday life. A visit to a relative, neighbour or friend is an opportunity for the exchange of fruits, seeds, condiments, medicines, seedlings, and ornamental plants. I’ve witnessed and participated in this botanical exchange from an early age, growing up in a small village on the bank of the Guamá River in Pará State, Brazil.
Wildlife conservation and management programmes are dependent on crucial information on animal populations, including their numbers, movements, habitat use, and how they respond to land-use and land cover changes. Such information is essential if conservation objectives related to species protection, sustainable management, and reduction of human-wildlife conflicts are to be achieved. However, quantifying the impacts of human activities on wildlife is complex. For instance, activities such as logging opens up roads and provides access to remote forested areas, which can lead to hunting and poaching of wildlife.
In August 2019, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro dismissed the protection of Amazon rainforest as an impediment to economic development in the wake of the fires raging across his country. He reiterated this point at the recently held 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, citing that “there is no political freedom without economic freedom”.
Years ago, life in the Maldives was simple. Back then, when there was little influence by technology, your alarm clock was the rooster emerging you from your warm bed at dawn. Upon waking, every Maldivian would begin their day with prayer. The story often begins with the father who will be the first to awake, have a cup of tea and head to the coral reefs, often called the Rainforests of the Seas, to catch breakfast – in the form of delicious fishes. In the meantime, the mother will commence cleaning the home and adjacent road, clearing the litter from the previous day. She will make the traditional Maldivian “huni roshi”, a flat bread or Indian roti variant with coconut. Next to emerge are the children, who will partake in the delicious meal. As the day progresses, the children will go swimming in the nearby reefs and perhaps will fish using a line with bait attached to a hook. Or perhaps they will swim and play on the white sandy beaches. This was the life as I remembered with my family as a child, like many Maldivians, decades ago.
Located in the arid region of the Arabian Peninsula, and near the Arabian Sea, Oman is one of the developing countries where climatic and metrological disasters are a constant way of life. Oman is also situated on the south-eastern part of the Arab tectonic plate, which is often affected by seismic activities, especially in the mountainous regions, as well as threats from tsunami along the coast.
In early August 2019 reports of increase fire counts across the Brazilian Amazon started reaching social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. Photos of fire destruction started to swarm the internet, followed by numerous news outlets sounding off data and information. Sides were chosen: on one hand some insist the Amazon is going up in flames, while on the other hand others say there is an over-reaction of the impacts. Like any complex issue, many have tried to simplified the current fire activities occurring in Brazil and elsewhere to one problem – either ‘bad’ farmers, current political rhetoric or indifference to the benefits of the Amazon rainforests.