The Brazilian Amazon Rainforest became endangered as of January 1st 2019 when Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s right-wing politician (referred to as the “Tropical Trump”) was sworn in as Brazil’s newest President. As an avid denier of climate change, Bolsanaro claims that pleas from the international community to protect the Amazon, which provides 20% of the world’s oxygen, is nothing more than an effort to stunt Brazil’s economic development.
He has even gone as far as to rally against environmental fines for farmers and call for indigenous reserves and other protected areas to be opened up for development. Environmentalists have warned that this type of rhetoric coming from the highest level of power within the country only emboldens Brazilian loggers, ranchers and other members of the agribusiness to destroy the forest.
In fact, over 1,000 sq km of jungle have been cleared in just the first 15 days of this month alone! – a 68% increase from the entire month of July just last year in 2018.
“His antagonism for the land rights of indigenous and traditional communities and disdain for environmental protection jeopardizes vast tracts of preserved forests, which could fall victim to reckless industrial development such as agribusiness and mining” said Christian Poirier, Program director at the NGO Amazon Watch – quote courtesy of dw.com
So what does this mean to you as a environmentally and culturally conscious traveller? It means book a trip to Brazil’s Amazon…
Brazil is home to around 900,000 indigenous people with the majority of them living within the boundaries of the Amazon rainforest. It’s these vary communities that are under threat from developers, cattle ranchers and the big agribusiness who are all vying for their land.
Sustainable tourism to the region has the ability to provide ethical and environmentally-friendly job opportunities to locals as well as provide the indigenous communities with incentives, monetary and otherwise, to protect their land and prevent them from having to sell it off for a lack of viable alternatives.
See below for the top ecolodges in the Brazilian Amazon with a strong commitment to sustainability and preservation. Book your trip and do your part to protect this vital corner of our planet.
This unique floating lodge is located in the Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve which serves as one of the biggest protected flooded forests in the world (only 4% of the Brazilian Amazon is a fresh water swamp forrest). The Uakari Floating Lodge is an award-winning community-based tourism initiative that not only offers guests an immersive Amazon experience with all sorts of wildlife viewing opportunities but also provides jobs to people from the nearby communities.
Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge
About 180km from Manaus (the biggest city within the Brazilian Amazon) this luxury eco-friendly lodge is located within the Anavilhanas National Park along the Rio Negro (a river which due to it’s acidic composition makes it difficult for mosquitos to breed!) Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge upholds a strong commitment to sustainability by employing people from the local communities, utilizing a private sewage treatment facility so that no waste is disposed in the waters as well as supporting social projects, participating in professional development and educational programs and by working closely with the Brazilian government’s Environmental agency.
Juma Amazon Lodge
This rustic river lodge is located on the Juma River, 100km south of Manaus. Famous for its primary forest and abundant wildlife, Juma Lodge stays committed to its goal of ecological, sociocultural and economic sustainability by implementing various measures to minimize negative impacts such as utilizing solar energy, having a recycling and waste management center, employing staff from the local community and by providing locals with educational lectures to inspire community commitment to conservation. In fact, the lodge is operated by a native family who was born on the island where Juma Lodge is located.
Deemed one of the world’s best ecolodges by National Geographic, this luxurious jungle hideaway is located in Brazil’s southern Amazon. A leader in responsible tourism, Cristalino Lodge directly preserves 44 square miles of pristine jungle, an area twice the size of Manhattan. In addition, the lodge focuses on minimum impact tourism using sustainable energy to run the lodge as well as supports the local communities through a variety of regional projects via the Cristalino Foundation.