Fighting for the Forest by Clare Gray

Fighting for the Forest by Clare Gray

Chico was well aware that the forest should be investigated carefully. So cautiously as the people of the forest did many years ago. The Amazon Forest is one of the most wonderful places on the planet. It is big, old and there are many animals and plants including rare species. Here is the larger part of the fresh water reserves on the planet. Chico was born in Brazil. There were no schools in the tropics, and he began to work hard at the age of ten. He did the same thing as the others. Everybody collected useful materials in the forest and sold them in the city. As a child, the boy did not think about the world outside the forest. But when he grew up, he realized, that the Earth is much larger than his beautiful tropical forest.

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Fighting for the Forest by Clare Gray

Like forest people for thousands of years before him, Chico understood that man must use the rain forest carefully and thoughtfully.

The Amazon rain forest is one of the most wonderful places on Earth – the biggest, oldest, and richest forest in the world. It covers an area that is almost as big as Australia. It is home to millions of different kinds of animals, plants, and birds. Most of the world’s fresh water is here, and the forest plants clean the Earth’s air every day. It is very hot, wet, and dark. For man’s future, the rain forest is probably the most important area in the world.

Chico Mendez was born near the Amazon town of Xapuri, Brazil, in 1944. There were no schools in the rain forest, and Chico started working at the age of nine. Like the rest of his family, the young boy earned money by taking small amounts of rubber from the forest’s trees. The rubber was then sold to local factories. This is an old style of farming. The trees are not hurt when you take rubber from them. In this way, the forest and its people lived together comfortably.

As a young boy, Chico did not think about the world outside of his town, his family, and his work. But as he grew, he learned more and more about the rain forest. He learned how to use forest plants as medicines and for food. Like forest people for thousands of years before him, he understood that man must use the rain forest carefully and thoughtfully.

But people are often too selfish to think about the future. While Chico grew up, large areas of the rain forest were destroyed by greedy businesses. Near Xapuri, thousands of trees were burned to make new fields for modern farms. But without the forest, the land soon became dry and poor.

Fighting for the Forest by Clare Gray

Food and grass for the animals stopped growing in the new fields after only a few years. So the farmers cleared more trees for fields, and the problem became more serious.

In other parts of the Amazon, the forest was burned to build roads and electricity stations. Many businesses cut down thousands of trees and sold the wood cheaply for furniture and paper. The rain forest is more than 180 million years old.

When it is cut down, it will not simply grow back. It is gone forever.

Chico felt very angry toward the businessmen and farmers near Xapuri. The rain forest was important and he wanted to save it. But Chico was just a poor rubber farmer. When he spoke to the businessmen, they did not listen. Money was too important to them. So Chico spoke to local politicians. But they were only interested in power. Chico was not important…

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