Jackson School of Geosciences and LLILAS BENSON: Fulbright Visiting Professor Lecture
The Amazon Under Construction: Towards Sustainability?
Austin, TX, February 12, 2014
Fulbright Visiting Professor Celio Bermann addressed the environmental impact of over development in the Amazon.
Infrastructure projects in the Amazon region are being conducted under the coordination of the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), a bold effort by the governments of South America to construct a new infrastructure network for the continent including roads, waterways, ports and energy and communications interconnections. Many of the projects seek to provide road and river outlets to ocean ports, with the goal of providing incentives to increase exports of commodities such as soybeans and other grains, timber and minerals. However, the projects are contributing to the advance of the agricultural frontier, with the consequent increase in deforestation, bringing serious problems for the balance of the fragile ecosystem. No attempt has been made to assess the cumulative impacts of this massive scheme. As a result of IIRSA, illegal logging along new roads and waterways will also impact extensive areas of the Amazon, affecting indigenous and other traditional communities. The communities that lie in harm’s way have not yet been informed about the planned projects, nor have they been asked what they think of these plans.
Celio Bermann is an Associate Professor with and Vice-Coordinator of the Graduate Program on Energy at the Institute of Energy and Environment at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Dr. Bermann teaches courses on environmental energy systems fundamentals, resources and energy supply, and policy analysis of energy and environmental issues. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Campinas; an MSc in Production Engineering from the University of Rio de Janeiro, with a specialization in urban and regional planning; and a BA in Architecture from the University of Sao Paulo. He also received a DEA in History and Geography of Populations from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales de Paris. Dr. Bermann’s most recent works include the book To Have and Have Not Resource Governance in the 21st Century (Berlin: Henrich Böll Foundation, 2008), and the journal article “Green and Sustainable Economy” (Estudos Avançados, v. 26, no. 74, Sao Paulo, 2012).