sábado, outubro 08, 2005

Amazonas - Poder de Deus

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The photos above are of the Rio Negro, Rio Solimoes, and the Rio Parana de Manaquiri, which are tributaries of the Amazon. Click on the thumbnail for a larger view.

A Margem do Rio Negro, Manaus, Amazonas, Brasil.

I came upon the photo above in the Reuters 'Latest Pictures' feature: http://today.reuters.com/Pictures/default.aspx
which I troll through once in a while to keep abreast of the latest in calamity. It caught me because the Rio Negro and Amazonia were some of what I missed when I lived in Brasil. A friend of mine had described these boats to me, which you can rent by the day or week to tour the river - he had done it, and I had never gotten round to it. And I could imagine the proprietor bewailing his lost livlihood - possibly being forced to take a job with the prefeitura, wearing orange overalls, and 'cleaning up' like the person in the foreground. My interest, piqued by a small personal regret, by a lost opportunity, led me to fossik through the web where I picked up the following bits:

"Large parts of the Amazon rainforest are at their driest in living memory, a direct consequence, scientists say, of the severe hurricane season off the US Gulf coast. Rainfall has been significantly below average this year along the Rio Solimoes and the Rio Madeira, two of the major Brazilian tributaries that flow into the Amazon, causing water levels to drop to record lows. Rivers and lakes are drying up, revealing huge sandbanks and making navigation difficult."

"The Arctic ice shelf has melted for the fourth straight year to its smallest area in a century, driven by rising temperatures that appear linked to a buildup of greenhouse gases, scientists said Wednesday. Scientists at NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, which have monitored the shelf by satellite since 1978, say the total Arctic ice in 2005 covers the smallest area since they began measuring."

"Two Antarctic ice shelves have broken up more quickly than anyone predicted, indicating that the effects of global warming may be accelerating, scientists said on Wednesday. They published satellite images showing the Larsen B and Wilkins ice shelves in full retreat, having lost nearly 1,100 square miles (3,000 square km) of their total area in the last year."

"Since 1996 the Greenland ice sheet has been moving faster during the summer melting season. The rate is accelerating because more melted water is trickling down from the surface of the sheet to the bedrock where it lubricates the sheet, which moves faster towards the coast. This suggests the ice may be responding more quickly than thought to a warming climate."

And I did find two interesting sites, worthy of links:

Milankovitch Cycles and Glaciation: Montana State University

A Brief Introduction to Chaos Theory (and the Butterfly Effect): http://www.imho.com/grae/chaos/chaos.html

So what!? So what indeed - but the obvious questions were lit. I collect a regular cheque from a company which most often seems to me to be the epitome of the world economic and moral order in denial. But I do so cash the cheques - and those among us who do not live in a more-or-less equivalent ambiguity have my envy and admiration. So, a degree of ambiguity leads to a degree of alienation, and to a concomitant inability to formulate coherent personal strategies, to know anything with any certainty, to hold anything but half-baked and contingent opinions ... and so forth ... till we witness the lemming flight of two million people from this very city just a week or so ago.

This man named his boat "Poder de Deus" - Power of God - and I wonder what he meant? Did he mean that it is a strong boat? That would make it one of the few public expressions I have seen of Brasilian hubris. More likely a slightly cocky rendition of "Graças a Deus" - Thanks be to God - quite a ubiquitous phrase. Or maybe expressing that he and his house, like Joshua, serve the Lord. I don't know. I can't really even surmise. I will leave it with you ...

The most obvious question is of course: What of the fate of the earth? of our Gaia? de nossa amante chamada Terra? Again, I really do not know ... the words of Caetano Veloso come to mind:

De onde nem tempo nem espaço
Que a força mande coragem
Pra gente te dar carinho
Durante toda a viagem
Que realizas no nada
Através do qual carregas
O nome da tua carne.
Terra, terra
Por mais distante
O errante navegante
Quem jamais te esqueceria.

From beyond time and space
That strength should become courage
For us to give you caresses
During the whole journey
That you make through the void
Across which you carry
The name of your flesh.
Terra, terra
No matter how far
The wanderer may stray
Who could ever forget you.

It is expected that poets will give mostly ambiguous answers - and I like it, as answers go it is not bad, and if I get the opportunity again, maybe I will head up past Bahia to Pará, Amapá and Amazonas, take a little trip on the good ship Poder de Deus - if it has rained enough by then - have a cachaça with him, and ask. 

I got this photo (Raimundo Paccó/ORM) in August from O Liberal: http://www.oliberal.com.br/
in their coverage of the Jogos Indígenas do Pará held at Altamira. It seems to me that whatever question is behind her look is the same as mine, and sums up somehow this ... whatever it is ... 'environmental rumination' let's call it.

Posted outubro 10, 2005 11:10 PM by Blogger AndreMoraes /  

Cool post... And also intrigued subject... I mean after see those pictures, seams like I'll also spend some time surfing at web to know more about what had happened in this place.