I will mountain bike across South America through the Brazilian Amazon to raise awareness about sustainability in the rainforest.
The premise of the Transamazonica was to open up an overland route for trade and transportation through the Amazon. The ability to traverse the jungle would also facilitate its future development via commercial and private agriculture.
The Amazon is an immense resource; the majority of which belongs to Brazil. However, its fate has an impact on the entire world. On the one hand, Brazilians have the desire to use what is rightfully theirs to prosper economically and enjoy a better life. It would be hypocritical for an American to argue otherwise, as our country went through a similar process in its early years. On the other hand, it would be detrimental to us all to allow the wasteful destruction of the rainforest for the short term benefit of only a few.
The goal is to strike a balance between the prosperity of the Brazilians that live and work in the Amazon, the satisfaction of the Brazilian government that ultimately decides the fate of the jungle, and the future health of the jungle itself which can provide Brazilians and the rest of the world alike with untold benefits.
Currently debates are taking place to determine the fates of these highways, namely whether they should be paved and maintained. This would undoubtedly have an enormous impact on the jungle’s health if it continues to be mistreated. Man’s unguided drive towards “progress” in the Amazon will effect us all.
Also, there exists an impression that the world outside Brazil wishes to harness the value of the Amazon for selfish interests. Brazil has a right to be protective of its land and question the intentions of outsiders wishing to “save” their land. Brazil also has the right to prosper. It is important not to impose judgment but work towards a common good.
Through this endeavor I will:
- Observe the results of unsustainable development along the Transamazonica
- Interact with the inhabitants living along the highway to understand their struggles
- Study the way people live how they interact with the surrounding land
- Experience the power of the natural jungle where it still exists along the highway!
The Transamazonica has been cycled in its entirety only a handful of times. This expedition will be a well documented traverse with real time updates via blog posting, GPS tracking, and photo uploads.