There is a human dimension to the slaughter of the Amazon that does not always make its way into the conventional deforestation narrative. This note examines the destruction of the Amazon through the very human experience of the Anabaptists: religious outliers who fled Europe for the Americas, seeking freedom from persecution and a promise of greener pastures. They have since indelibly transformed the landscape of the Amazon in Bolivia and Paraguay, and their efforts have caught the attention of huge agricultural conglomerates, whose bottom lines have little respect for forest life. The environmental regulations of these countries fall short of the sweeping reforms needed to halt the agricultural conversion of the remaining forests. And so it shall fall on the international community to mitigate the damage – the level of which must have been inconceivable to the first Anabaptist pioneers who arrived on Paraguayan soil almost 100 years ago. From a spark, grows a flame.
Sarah M. Hanners,
Promised Lands: The Anabaptist Immigration to Paraguay and Bolivia and its Unintended Consequences for the Environment,
48 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev.
Available at: http://repository.law.miami.edu/umialr/vol48/iss2/8