Brazil rocks!!!


Posted by CarrieB on Saturday, February 11th, 2006

Brazil rocks!!! Not only just because we are full on in summer, or because of the beautiful blooming flowers, or all the yummy juices made up of any topical fruit you can think of, the amazingly fantastic people we have run across down here…while actually indeed for these reasons and more, Brazil is defiantly a country I would like to spend more time in.

On our first day here we went to a coffee farm. This is a huge industry down here. Thus one of our focuses in Brazil. It was great to spend the whole day outside in the sun, while learning all about the process of planting to harvesting coffee. After the tour we were informed that it was Nilton’s Birthday (owner of farm). In celebration, we were treated to a Brazilian style BBQ. We sampled piece after piece of various well-cooked meat, grilled cheese, fabulous greens, an oh so yummy tomatoes, lime, onion salsa. Everything tasted to good. I had not tasted meat that good since I lived in Argentina.

Another highlight came today. Along with our coffee theme, we are focusing on another large production down here: Ethanol made from Sugar Cane. It is a huge, huge Industry here. The area that we have spent our week is Ribeirao Preto, in the state of Sao Paulo. Agriculture is a big contributor to their economy, and because of it, this region is one of the richest in Brazil.

Now I know that there are farmers in the US that grow corn to make Ethanol. I have learned this week that sugar cane is a better source, because basically all of the plant is used. The amount of waste with corn is a lot higher. Also the process of making Ethanol with sugar cane is cleaner than corn. We need to start thinking on a global scale about what is better for our environment as a whole and not as individual countries anymore. We are not isolated from each other; we live in a global economy. It makes sense to use products from other countries if they are more harmonious with the earth. What will happen to the corn farmer if we use Brazilian sugar cane instead of US corn? Either we should change the crops, grow the corn for consumption on a large scale for export, have people move into the service industry etc. Gone are the days when one works at one job for 30 years….it is about changing when the time comes to change. I am not saying this is the absolute answer. I have just spent one week around this subject, I am no expert. It is worth thinking and talking about however, for the future of our planet. Our government puts huge tariffs on sugar cane imports to the US. Brazilians have hopes for this to change. It is interesting, a number of years ago the country of Brazil was facing an oil crisis. They could not afford to be dependent on it anymore. They started producing sugar cane based Ethanol in mass quantities. This changed the countries dependency on highly taxed foreign oil. Today 90% of cars here run on Ethanol, which is cheaper for the consumer, cleaner for the environment and a renewable resource.

Today we go back to Minneapolis. We’ve been traveling for 41 days. I am looking forward to some time off. On the 26th we fly to Israel and than Palestine. We will be there for during a very historical, difficult time. Keep the emails coming.

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