Vivanco: Green Encounters - Chapter 02
Everyone sees forests differently. Some see them as biologists, others as medical doctors. But I see them as a campesino,
because that's what I am. And so I see that people need to survive with
these forests. We can't not use them. We must use them wisely, though."
- Dairy farmer, Santa Elena
In their discussions on biodiversity loss and landscape degradation, environmentalists
tend to point to campesinos
like José as responsible for a large part of the
destruction. They explain that poverty, ignorance, greed, fast population growth,
even apparent cultural predisposition are the root causes that drive people like
José to rapidly cut rain forests. For example, in her popular book on the global
situation of rain forests, In the Rainforest
, Caufield has a chapter on the Quakers
of Monteverde ("Cattle in the Clouds") in which she complains that the
unchecked ambition to destroy rain forests there is the product of "the Iberians'
overwhelming atavistic urge to become a caballero" (1984/91: 121), or cattle
rancher. So we could add irrational inflexibility and static attachment to tradition
to the list of possible root causes.