Photographer, Cinematographer and Journalist Renato Stockler is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From the project ‘Sowing Water’. To see Renato’s body of work, click on any image.
Despite being more than 2000 kilometers away from the edges of the largest tropical forest in the world (the Amazon Rainforest), the central, south and southeast regions of Brazil depend on rain and water evaporation in the forests in the Amazon region. There are formed the so-called “aerial rivers”: a great flow of humidity and clouds that travel over long distances, irrigating large areas and that help to form springs of many rivers in mountainous regions in southern America. These rivers, in turn, are responsible for the water supply sources in the most urbanized regions of Brazil and which are to the south and on the Atlantic coast of the continent.
However, with the increasing deforestation in the Amazon region and the process of savanization of forest areas, an unprecedented environmental drama is underway: the flow of these aerial rivers is decreasing, which leads to a reduction in air humidity in the south of the country, reducing the volume of rivers that supply urban water sources.
In early 2014, the city of São Paulo went through a critical moment of water supply. The largest metropolitan region in South America, served by a complex of 7 water system sources, experienced its most dramatic moment. The main of these systems is the Cantareira System, located to the north of the São Paulo metropolitan region, that almost ran out.
The region of Cantareira is a priority for environmental conservation and restoration of the Atlantic Forest. There are located the headwaters of a lot rivers and is home for the main reservoir of water of São Paulo.
Only this complex supplies water to approximately 12 million people. In addition to harboring rare fauna and flora species, several Atlantic Forest remnants in this region provide an important ecosystem service: protection of water resources.
Changing the mindset of rural producers and restoring degraded areas has become the only way of guaranteeing water to supply urban regions and to keep agricultural production up.
This is what these images are about: degraded areas that need to be recovered, rural producers who need to review their productive ways, respecting the water cycles and the importance of the standing forest, being a partner of their crops and their creations.
Reforestation, research, community involvement and environmental education initiatives with residents and decision-makers must emphasize the importance of regional water and biodiversity. It is a systemic issue and must be faced as that.
Guarantee of public policies:
Much of the forest clearing processes are directly linked to irregular extensive agriculture, with the illegal seizure of public protected land for cattle breeding, with criminal mining by invaders on indigenous lands, with the constant cuts in inspection processes, with the reduction of the legal mechanisms of punishment, with the aggressive dismantling of the monitoring systems of the forest regions. There is a systematic dismantling of the punitive apparatus by public agencies across Brazil and this is deepening in the current management of the federal government in Brazil. This dismantling is notorious and public.
The current Minister of the Environment, a position directly linked to the federal executive branch, does not act to combat the deforestation of forest areas: there is an intentional policy of relaxation in the inspection and in the fight against illegal actions and aggressions against forests. That needs to be said.
There are no guarantees of maintaining forests standing and fulfilling their environmental services without a serious inspection policy and committed to sustainable and positive development. Public authorities, the productive sector and civil society working committed to traditional and original peoples, learning from their ancestral knowledge about forests and about the paths we must take to guarantee our future as a society. It is a matter of listening. And urgent action.
All images and text © Renato Stockler
By Renato Stockler
Edge of Humanity Magazine is an independent nondiscriminatory platform that has no religious, political, financial, or social affiliations.
We are committed to publishing the human condition, the raw diverse global entanglement, with total impartiality.
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