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Old 08-24-2019, 12:47 PM
SamuelA is online now
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 3,869

How will human lives be harmed when/if the Amazon burns to the ground?

What benefits does the Amazon offer to human beings? I understand it's a net oxygen producer - but it can't sink CO2 to any significant extent, there's no peat bogs and those trees aren't usually used for lumber. So I'm not sure what the loss of the Amazon will really due to global CO2 levels. (which are going to keep rising so long as fossil fuels are being burned, of course)

People talk about the potential for some exotic biotech medicine - really? Why would a random organism in the forest produce exactly the molecule needed to treat a human disease? It's improbable. More effective drugs can (and often are) either rationally designed (looking for a molecule that binds well to a known target somewhere in the human body) or done with organic chemistry methods that systematically can synthesize any small molecule. (obviously most bigger ones won't be tried, as the number of possible small molecules goes up exponentially). Or biotech drugs - gene therapy and antibody therapy is targeted, again not from some random plant in a jungle.

So if human beings don't directly benefit from the Amazon - I mean it is a dense jungle, and generally speaking these have never been great places for human beings due to parasites and predators - why should they save it?

I understand it's an ecological treasure and contains countless species. But unless other countries are going to pay Brazil to leave it untouched, how can you expect the people who live there to not want to turn it all into pastureland? (and pay more than the value of the place as something else)


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