Saturday, April 12, 2014

Issues of an Unknown World

By Brianne Bishop

Speaker, researcher, activist, writer Paul Rosolie is best known for his work in the Amazon as a modern day conservationist. His main focus is on the Amazon rainforest and protecting the abundance of plant and animal species contained in the Amazon. The Amazon is incredible for this reason and because it has the most abundant and diverse plant and animal species on the entire Earth, located in a central area. Rainforests account for only 6% of the world’s surface and are disappearing at an alarming speed. The destruction of rainforests can be blamed on humans with their destructive practices that affect the unique ecosystem.

It is evident Paul Rosolie is extremely passionate about what he does in the Amazon. This shows through his recent presentation at Ramapo College and his emphasis on how important it is to spread the awareness of issues arising in the Amazon Rainforest. He focuses specifically on the Las Piedras River. Las Piedras is surrounded by Manu National Park, Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, Alto Purus, Madidi National Park, which are all located in the Madre de Dios region of Peru.

Unlike the surrounding areas, Las Piedras River is not protected and is not declared as a National Park and is experiencing unregulated and illegal logging. This section of river accounts for a large watershed that feeds into multiple rivers and if these waters are polluted, each surrounding area will have to deal with polluted waters. This poses a damaging threat to the Amazonian rainforest.

Not only have loggers been affecting the dynamics of the rainforest, but poachers also have a negative impact. Poachers are legally only allowed to gather 60 kg of bushmeat, yet the hunters often exceed this restriction as it is not closely monitored. Humans are also converting rainforest land into large farms that are cleared in order to raise cattle or grow soy. Gold mining is also a problem in the Amazon, specifically in the Madre de Dios region. Dangerous chemicals such as mercury pollute the water sources due to the gold extraction process, ultimately resulting in complete destruction of the landscape. Accessible manmade roads cutting through natural rainforest areas that are improving human access have made all of this possible.

As a Ramapo College Environmental Studies major graduate, Paul Rosolie serves as an inspiration to many students, including myself. He knew his passions early on and made a dream for himself. Since then he has been following his dream, achieving goals and then some, as well as being able to spread his passions and knowledge. He has been escaping to Peru every second he can get very early on in his life. Rosolie has made a career for himself doing what he loves most, connecting with and being with nature.

Visit his website and watch some of his one of a kind live video footage of life in the Amazon. Rosolie obtains footage of areas that are rarely seen by mankind. He ventures miles away from main roads, the last village, and any type of contact with human life, miles into the lively and luscious Amazonian rainforest.

He has stories and visuals to share to us through his new book titled Mother of God. Although I have not yet read his book, it has received recognition from big names such as Jane Goodall, Bear Grylls, and Bill McKibben along with praise from The Wall Street Journal. He also runs expeditions in the Amazon and is looking to set up a study abroad program for students in the summer of 2015. Keep an eye out for this amazing opportunity!

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