thumbnail of Exchange; Threat to the Rain Forest
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<v Announcer>This program is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. <v Tom Grimes>Hello, I'm Tom Grimes and welcome to Exchange. <v Tom Grimes>This is a series made up of documentaries which have been exchanged among 5 <v Tom Grimes>different film producers from the United States, Canada and Western Europe. <v Tom Grimes>Exchange is a chance for us in this country to look through the eyes of film producers <v Tom Grimes>of different cultures from ours. <v Tom Grimes>In this edition, we look through the cameras of our Swedish colleagues. <v Tom Grimes>We're going to look at the destruction of the world's rainforests. <v Tom Grimes>That sounds pretty remote. We don't have tropical rainforests in this country.
<v Tom Grimes>And if we did, they certainly wouldn't be much of a tourist attraction. <v Tom Grimes>Moreover, they're being harvested for badly needed wood. <v Tom Grimes>But destruction of the world's rainforests could have global consequences for the world's <v Tom Grimes>weather and its food supply. <v Tom Grimes>Destruction of these tropical forests also takes a human toll. <v Tom Grimes>You'll see both the scientific and human stories told in this edition of <v Tom Grimes>Exchange. <v Narrator>Here in the rainforests of the Dutch East Indies, giant trees are felled.
<v Narrator>The jungle is being cleared to prepare the ground for the Swedish Co-operative Societies <v Narrator>coffee plantation. <v Narrator>The Swedish manager of the plantation directs the work. <v Narrator>This is 1938, and the Third World has not yet freed itself <v Narrator>from colonialism. <v Narrator>Up until now, half of the world's tropical rainforests have disappeared, and <v Narrator>now the still untouched jungle's also threatened. <v Narrator>We're flying over Papua New Guinea. <v Narrator>This country is as large as Sweden with extensive virgin rainforests. <v Narrator>Three million people live here. <v Narrator>We came here to see what man can do to the tropical rainforest today
<v Narrator>using the most modern methods. <v Narrator>We're flying northwards towards the land cleared by the Japanese Jant company <v Narrator>near the Gogol River. <v Narrator>Beneath us lies the rainforest with its enormous variety <v Narrator>of plants and animals.
<v Narrator>It has taken 60 million years for the rainforest to become the perfect <v Narrator>biological complex that it is today. <v Narrator>Millions of different plants, birds and insects cooperate in an <v Narrator>endlessly complicated interplay. <v Narrator>Each species has a role chiseled out during millennia, has its meaning for <v Narrator>other forms of life and for the system as a whole. <v Narrator>Down here on the ground, there is rarely a breeze. <v Narrator>The light filters down through the thick foliage. <v Narrator>The temperature is always the same. <v Narrator>The air drips with humidity the whole day, the whole year.
<v Narrator>One can easily feel reverence for this perfectly functioning synthesis, <v Narrator>which can transform solar energy into such multifarious life. <v Narrator>In these forests, man was born, and here also <v Narrator>lies our future.
<v Narrator>These workers belong to the Japanese company Jant, the Japan New <v Narrator>Guinea timber company. <v Narrator>700 woodcutters have been sent by Jant into the forests here in Transgogol. <v Narrator>They have come from all over the country to take part in Jant's unique experiment <v Narrator>of transforming this rainforest into wood pulp. <v Workers>[indistinct talking between workers].
<v Narrator>Jant's workers take over all trees in the wood, they cut up the whole <v Narrator>jungle into suitable bits for the wood pulp factory. <v Narrator>In the old days of lumbering in the rain forest, they were searching for fine woods, <v Narrator>teak, ebony and so on. <v Narrator>And they felled only 1 tree in 20. <v Narrator>Jant leaves the earth scraped quite clean in its trail. <v Narrator>This new method of turning the rainforest into wood pulp can help to wipe <v Narrator>them off the map almost completely by the year 2000.
<v Narrator>It has taken nature tens of millions of years to create the tropical <v Narrator>rainforest. <v Narrator>It takes Jant 70 seconds to fell one of its giants. <v Narrator>Every day of the year, 5 million trees are now felled <v Narrator>in the rainforests of the world. <v Narrator>The timber machines tear apart what remains of living vegetation and cut <v Narrator>up the earth. This destroys any possibility of further life. <v Narrator>The rain forest is an organism that literally lives on itself. <v Narrator>The earth underneath is poor and vulnerable now when it's exposed to wind
<v Narrator>and weather. <v Narrator>No new rain forest, therefore, will be able to grow up again when Jant's <v Narrator>machines have gone. <v Narrator>It's lorries drive away with all the forest nutritive substances, <v Narrator>leaving an environment as barren as a desert. <v Narrator>450 kilometers as the crow flies directly southeast <v Narrator>over endless stretches of untouched rainforest lies the territory of <v Narrator>the Binandere tribe between the Eia and Mambare Rivers. <v Narrator>For over half a decade, 5000 persons from the Binandere tribe <v Narrator>have prevented these woods from being destroyed.
<v Narrator>It was the American owned Parsons and Witmore Timber Company, which in the mid <v Narrator>70s selected this area for lumbering operations. <v Narrator>A large number of valuable trees had been located in the Benedare forests. <v Narrator>The people here live on what is scornfully called the stone age level. <v Narrator>This means that they live by hunting, collecting things, fishing and farming <v Narrator>in these rain forests. <v Narrator>We land in the village of Timouru in the heart of Binandere land. <v Kipling Jiregari>[speaking Binandere language, captions provided and writing here for screen readers: First, I wish to welcome you to my village. My name is Kipling Jiregari and I shall speak of <v Kipling Jiregari>the land and the forest. This is our land, and no one has a right to enter. Here we in the Binandere tribe have tended our gardens. This land gives us our food and everything we <v Kipling Jiregari>need. Money has no future. Money disappears. Only man and the land remain when all else has disappeared. Therefore I have stopped the company. No company shall destroy our land. <v Kipling Jiregari>If the company's men come here again, we will kill them. We received our land from God and one day he will ask to get it back. If anyone comes in here without permission, I will <v Kipling Jiregari>kill him. Tell the company I said they should take their money and instead of coming here and raping our land. Between Mambare River and Eia River lies our land.. If one of the <v Kipling Jiregari>company's men comes here, I'll run him through with my spear. They shall never touch our forest, where our food and our medicine is. The forest is our skin, and without his skin
<v Kipling Jiregari>man dies. This is my last warning. We have stopped them forever.] <v Member of Kipling Jiregari's entourage>[Binandere language, captions as follows: This is the last word of our great chief, Kipling Jiregari. He who helps the company to take our woods will be killed. The woods, the <v Member of Kipling Jiregari's entourage>land, the fish, the swamp, the birds, everything we will protect. Not only for our own sake, but also for coming generations. If the company comes here in spite of all, we will <v Member of Kipling Jiregari's entourage>kill their men and all who help the company. We don't want their money. Tell them that. Our ancestors did not live on money. We are not descended from money. We descend from the
<v Member of Kipling Jiregari's entourage>taro plant which our ancestors lived on and which we live on. We are made of taro, not of money.] <v Kipling Jiregari>[Speaking Binandere, captions as follows: We did not ask the company to come here. We have all we need. I will not allow Prime Minister - Somare or foreign companies to come to <v Kipling Jiregari>our land to take our woods. I want never to hear of this again. Tell this to the company. If anyone gets killed, it is not my fault but theirs. Who let the foreigners come here <v Kipling Jiregari>and destroy our woods. The government does not own this land. We own it, who have lived here from times immemorial. The woods and the land are ours. No one shall come and try to <v Kipling Jiregari>bargain away our woods. Let me hear no more about wood-cutting rights. The government can invite the foreign companies to its own areas, but they shall not come to the land of the <v Kipling Jiregari>Binanderes. The forest is our skin. Take away a person's skin and he dies. This is how the land looks when it is skinned.]
<v Kazie Satch>30 thousand hectares of various cut rates. <v Interviewer>30 or 13? <v Kazie Satch>30. <v Interviewer>3-0. <v Kazie Satch>Yes, 3-0. <v Interviewer>So how long time more do you think these <v Interviewer>83 thousand hectares will last? <v Kazie Satch>Yes, initially we planned <v Kazie Satch>our operations to be lasting us <v Kazie Satch>about 20 years, but due to some <v Kazie Satch>difficulties like <v Kazie Satch>settings that have green breaks for preventing erosion, <v Kazie Satch>?inaudible? the river, and also some settings about ?inaudible? <v Kazie Satch>our area for the people. <v Kazie Satch>And then our resources has been reduced. <v Kazie Satch>Therefore, if we cannot get to any
<v Kazie Satch>other extension areas, our operations only would be lasting us <v Kazie Satch>another several years, we'll be finished. <v Interviewer>How many years about? <v Kazie Satch>Say another 6 or 7 years? <v Narrator>When the rainforest are destroyed, an enormous amount of plant life <v Narrator>disappears. <v Narrator>These forests contain half of all the vegetation in the world. <v Narrator>Half of all the vegetation in the world. <v Narrator>The rainforests play an important role for the entire climatic balance <v Narrator>in the world. <v Narrator>If they are destroyed, the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere
<v Narrator>will rise. Then the climate in the whole world will <v Narrator>change in a couple of generations more than it's changed in the past 10 <v Narrator>thousand years. <v Narrator>Then starvation will increase in the world, and when the glaciers melt, <v Narrator>the level of the oceans will rise. <v Narrator>This is the threatening picture presented by troubled scientists in recent times. <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>Jant Company in Madang, Papua New Guinea. <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>Operation is effective and is progressing very <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>well. <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>The performance or the results of the operation of the Jant <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>company, as I said earlier on, that company's <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>operation is very effective and progressing very well. <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>The government, PNG government is very happy with the operation.
<v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>The benefits this operation has brought to the nation <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>and to the province, in particular the royalties to the <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>people, taxes to the government, and the basic <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>infrastructure that most provinces want, such as roads, <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>bridges, wharf. <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>And furthermore, provides opportunities <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>for the people who would otherwise wouldn't have any employment. <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>As I said, it employs about 700 people who are earning cash <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>from working with this company. So all in all, the government is very happy <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>with the project. <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>I accept there are certain costs that country will have to accept, such <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>as rivers being polluted to a degree
<v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>way of life or people in the area may change with the effect of the <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>company. <v Narrator>So says the government's representative. <v Narrator>What do the people say? <v Narrator>We return now to Jant's area in Transgogol here in Jobtou, <v Narrator>the lumbering job is already finished. <v Narrator>What rights have the people here? <v Narrator>Can the company do just as it pleases? <v Interviewer>Do you own the land here or you're purchasing timber rights? <v Kazie Satch>We are purchasing that timber right and the land itself <v Kazie Satch>belong to the people living inside Papua New Guinea and actually <v Kazie Satch>some our mechanic sees ?inaudible? <v Kazie Satch>government bought timber right. <v Kazie Satch>from the people and we had some to ?inaudible?
<v Kazie Satch>timber from the government and we are paying royalty. <v Interviewer>All right. <v Jobtou man 1>[Speaking language of the people living in Jobtou, captions as follows: The company's bulldozers have destroyed the natural water system here in this area. Now in the dry season, <v Jobtou man 1>all the springs and streams have dried up. Now we must go a long way for water. We must look for water holes that we never used before.] <v Jobtou man 2>[Speaking language of the people living in Jobtou, captions as follows: The wild animals have disappeared from here now. We no longer see the cassowaries, birds of paradise, the <v Jobtou man 2>wild pigs. They were all driven away from here by the company. The wild pigs came back again when the company went away, but all the other animals are gone forever.] <v Jobtou man 3>[Speaking language of the people living in Jobtou, captions as follows: We used to build our houses with the quila tree, but now it is wiped out by Jant, and we have trouble <v Jobtou man 3>finding timber to build our houses with. A man who has money can buy building materials, but all the rest of us have always depended on the forest. Jant paid no attention to our <v Jobtou man 3>needs when they cut down the forest. They destroyed our holy places and took all our forest. In the future we shall have a hard time. When we no longer have the forest, what will
<v Jobtou man 3>become of our children and our grandchildren?].
<v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>I wouldn't think it's destruction of the forest. <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>The forest is being developed at the wishes of the <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>people in the area and the government of the day. <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>It is part of the overall plan program that the government <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>has drawn up to bring development to the <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>rural areas. <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>This is being done to provide facilities <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>such as road, bridges, which will bring better health <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>facilities and open up the area for other form of <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>development or its people would be engaged to. <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>I accept that there are certain costs that one has to accept. <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>But all in all, in the long term, hopefully this project <v Andrew M.D. Yauieb>will bring more benefits than the cost it would have otherwise.
<v Narrator>The rainforest from Transgogol is chopped into woodchips in Jant's <v Narrator>factory in Madang. <v Narrator>The woodchips are then sold by Jant to its Japanese parent company, Honshu <v Narrator>Paper. This company is more powerful than the government <v Narrator>of Papua New Guinea. <v Narrator>Honshu Paper is sold throughout the whole world. <v Narrator>Wood chips from New Guinea are shipped to Japan. <v Narrator>There, the rainforest is finally converted into wrapping <v Narrator>paper or cardboard boxes or toilet paper.
<v Kazie Satch>Our company was incorporated in 1971 for a means <v Kazie Satch>to producing some woodchips from the rain land- <v Kazie Satch>?inaudible? land, rainforest. <v Kazie Satch>And there are about 200 kind of spaces, <v Kazie Satch>or ?inaudible?, such kind of spaces. <v Kazie Satch>Nobody knows that times well, whether we could produce wood chips <v Kazie Satch>from that material. And after the wrong experience, wrong <v Kazie Satch>experiment. We succeeded to producing such woodchips for <v Kazie Satch>combating these woodchips into their cardboard paper like that one. <v Kazie Satch>And since 1974, <v Kazie Satch>we have been producing our woodchips here <v Kazie Satch>about 250 thousand cubic meters <v Kazie Satch>of woodchips per year.
<v Kazie Satch>So in another word we had produced about <v Kazie Satch>1.3 million woodchips already since we started. <v Kilagaum Alaloum>All right. <v Kilagaum Alaloum>[Kilagaum speaking his own language, captions as follows: When Jant came to our village on the river, we all thought things would get better. But nothing got better for us. The <v Kilagaum Alaloum>company took our forest. We said okay because we thought it was good. But now they have our forest, and things are not any better for us. All we got were some little bits of <v Kilagaum Alaloum>money, but they took away out forest, and the forest was like the bones in our body. The forest gives us food. The forest gives us wild animals. Before Jant came, our gardens <v Kilagaum Alaloum>yielded big crops. Jant has taken away our whole way of life. It has destroyed our land. Our gardens now give poor crops. Now we have to ask Jant to help us. When will they help <v Kilagaum Alaloum>us? The government too said our life would get better when Jant came, but where is the help from the government now when everything is worse? Now when the forest is gone, both the <v Kilagaum Alaloum>government and Jant are gone too. What shall we do now? Our life has gotten worse. The Earth is destroyed. The bamboos with which we built our huts are gone. The trees we used for <v Kilagaum Alaloum>the roofs are gone. Therefore, the people in the Gogol valley can't look after themselves anymore. We can't look after ourselves anymore without the wild animals and the clay to <v Kilagaum Alaloum>make pots from. We cannot live without food from the forest and from our gardens because we have no money to buy food. We have complained for a long time without results. Whom <v Kilagaum Alaloum>shall we turn to now? We have got no help at all. We are not against the government, but why don't they help us now when our forest is gone?You can see for yourselves the state we <v Kilagaum Alaloum>are in now. When Jant has taken all our forest from us, now we all need money to live. But for several years we have received nothing at all for our forest which they took away. <v Kilagaum Alaloum>It's only talk and talk. In our hearts we are disappointed. We have talked and talked, but the government doesn't understand. How shall we get them to understand what has happened <v Kilagaum Alaloum>to us? How shall we make them understand that now when we do not have the forest, we can no longer look after ourselves? The government does not care about us. They think only of
<v Kilagaum Alaloum>themselves. If we are to eat, we must now have shops where we can buy food and money to pay with but we have neither shops nor money. How will we be able to live then? The <v Kilagaum Alaloum>government must help us with all this. When our generation has disappeared, our children and grandchildren must be able to look after themselves. What will happen when there is no <v Kilagaum Alaloum>forest anymore and we have got no money and shops instead?.]
<v Narrator>When the companies have abandoned the clearings, impoverished peasants come along <v Narrator>the timber tracks in search of farmland. <v Narrator>They burn what's left of the forest and plant their crops in the ashes. <v Narrator>But the burn beaters reap little reward for their trouble. <v Narrator>The earth under the rain forest is barren, washed bare by the constant <v Narrator>rains. When the nutritive substances and the ashes are consumed, <v Narrator>the harvests decline inexorably. <v Narrator>They old kind of burning on a small scale does not threaten the natural ecological <v Narrator>balance. But when hunger and starvation force more <v Narrator>and more peasants to occupy the land, which the company has cleared a forest, <v Narrator>the forest never gets a chance to grow again. <v Narrator>Here, bushes and weeds take over. <v Narrator>Here, the sun bakes the earth to a stone hard crust.
<v Narrator>Everywhere here in New Guinea, the forests are burning. <v Narrator>When Jant began to clear the forest 8 years ago, the company promised <v Narrator>the government that it would try to replant the forests when it moved on. <v Narrator>These are Jant's eucalyptus plants, which later it is hoped will replace the <v Narrator>rainforest. <v Narrator>Jant's replanting job has hardly begun yet. <v Kazie Satch>We aiming to reforest <v Kazie Satch>the whole of this areas because of preventing erosion and such ?inaudible? <v Kazie Satch>environmental disruptions. We don't want to have ?inaudible? <v Kazie Satch>matters. So our aim is that now there are 2 meanings. <v Kazie Satch>One is just planting and the preventing things such as ?inaudible?
<v Kazie Satch>disruptions and the other thing's and we still or keep on our operations <v Kazie Satch>at beach areas or continuously. <v Kazie Satch>And there are 2 items said about the reforestation. <v Interviewer>You were the first company in the world to again <v Interviewer>venture the into cutting all of the trees in <v Interviewer>the rainforest to use it for paper making? <v Kazie Satch>Yes. <v Interviewer>Did you at that time when you started this, do some studies on the ecological <v Interviewer>consequences of clearcutting? <v Kazie Satch>Yes, we had done that, but uh, nobody has certainly <v Kazie Satch>experienced before. Therefore, of course, now we somethings <v Kazie Satch>we didn't know. I think that our whole logged <v Kazie Satch>extractive operations start, we could find out <v Kazie Satch>we have to have some measures to prevent things like that such as sort of disruption.
<v Kazie Satch>And then we said there are green breaks and somebody is out there, yes, <v Kazie Satch>and also our reforestation is now just doing that <v Kazie Satch>to prevent this sort of environment disruption. <v Interviewer>What is your view on the criticism against Jant from <v Interviewer>the concerned ecologists that you are disrupting the natural <v Interviewer>balance and in the areas where you have been clearcutting that will never, ever be a <v Interviewer>forest again? <v Kazie Satch>Yes, now this matter is that there are many people now ?inaudible? <v Kazie Satch>that some people appreciated our, our <v Kazie Satch>development areas, but now some people is now, yes, <v Kazie Satch>just the criticisms like zap, let us as that matters. <v Kazie Satch>And in this point of views, we wish to just emphasis we do not <v Kazie Satch>want to destroy the natural <v Kazie Satch>resources. We wish to keep ?inaudible? <v Kazie Satch>and changing at the forest into the one more unified
<v Kazie Satch>species so that it is very easy for the peoples <v Kazie Satch>to utilizing such a material. <v Kazie Satch>At this stage, as I told you, there are 200 <v Kazie Satch>more than 200 other kinds of species mixed up in this forest. <v Kazie Satch>So I think would it be better for us to cut so all of us out <v Kazie Satch>there logs first and then plantings? <v Kazie Satch>?inaudible? <v Kazie Satch>thing is that some useful species. <v Narrator>Researchers who have studied this experiment doubt that it can be done at all. <v Narrator>But now Jant is trying to replace the enormous variety of species in the <v Narrator>rainforests by plantations, which consist of two or three <v Narrator>kinds of trees. <v Narrator>This condemns to death most of the plants, insects and birds
<v Narrator>in the rainforest. <v Interviewer>How much have you already reforested here in Jant? <v Kazie Satch>30 thousand hectares of areas we cut the already. <v Interviewer>30 or 13? <v Kazie Satch>30. <v Interviewer>3-0. <v Kazie Satch>Yes, 3-0. <v Nursery Commentator>One thousand, 1600 hectares. <v Interviewer>1600 hectares. How many are you working here at the nursery? <v Nursery Commentator>We've got 2 nursery men, plus <v Nursery Commentator>1 assistant who ?inaudible? myself and our <v Nursery Commentator>?inaudible? resistance team in nursery.
<v Narrator>Switch now to another country, another continent. <v Narrator>The trend which has just begun in Papua New Guinea, has been going on <v Narrator>in the Amazon basin for decades. <v Narrator>This area contains half of the world's rainforests. <v Narrator>These too are now exposed to rapid destruction. <v Narrator>But nowhere else have the effects on the native population been so disastrous. <v Narrator>Once, 3 million Indians lived here, now 100,000 <v Narrator>are left. <v Narrator>To this little trading post near Pucallpa, at the source of the Amazon <v Narrator>in Peru come the Indians on their way from the forests. <v Narrator>Settlers come here too in search of the green gold in the rain forest.
<v Narrator>Within a few years, feverish activity develops around the lumbering work. <v Narrator>Now comes the gold rush. <v Narrator>Here, fast money can be made and job opportunities are created for businessmen, <v Narrator>lumberjacks and farmers who burn the remains of the forests. <v Narrator>For the Indians, there is no room here anymore.
<v Narrator>In the Swedish supported Amazonas <v Narrator>Hospital in Pucallpa, we find some of the Indians who've been driven from their homes <v Narrator>in the virgin forest by the lumbering operations. <v Narrator>In the wake of the new machines and the settlers come diseases and epidemics, <v Narrator>the Indians are hard hit. <v Dr. Alberto Zolzezzi>[Speaking Spanish with captions provided: Pienso de que si bien la desnutrición es bastante alta entre los nativos todavía la nutrición no llega a tener característica alarmantes <v Dr. Alberto Zolzezzi>como entre la gente de las ciudades. Pienso de que los nativos todavía tienen para cultivar la tierra y para cazar en la, la foresta, no? En la selva. Mientras que en las ciudades <v Dr. Alberto Zolzezzi>tiene que comprar las cosas y gastar su dinero.]. <v Interviewer>Does this mean that generally when the Indians are forced out
<v Interviewer>of the forest into the urban slums, their health standards get worse? <v Dr. Alberto Zolzezzi>[Speaking Spanish with captions provided on screen: Pienso de que sí, es que los indios poco a poco se van, entrando las ciudades, el problema de la desnatruición se va ser más <v Dr. Alberto Zolzezzi>grave para ellos también porque entre un ?inaudible? comuna clase un poco inferior a la ciudad.]
<v Narrator>50 million people live in the rain forests of the world. <v Narrator>Now they are being driven out of their forests to which they had adapted their way of <v Narrator>life throughout the whole history of our species. <v Narrator>These Yagua Indians live in balance with nature. <v Narrator>In a single village, the people know about 295 different <v Narrator>edible plants and they have detailed knowledge of 119 <v Narrator>medicinal herbs. <v Narrator>All this scientific knowledge accumulated during countless generations <v Narrator>is now being lost when the people of the virgin forests throughout the world <v Narrator>are driven into the Third World city slums. <v Juan Albanil Barba>[Speaking Spanish, captions on screen, Spanish as follows: La alimentación de nuestro pueblo consiste en lo sigiuente, una taza de té en las mañanas y dos panes. Y muchos casos <v Juan Albanil Barba>unos dos panes o en unos casos un pan. El almuerzo, un poco de agua con fideos y una ?inaudible? de verdugos picados. En las tardes, es otra, o se vuelve a repetir la misma <v Juan Albanil Barba>?inaudible? de una taza de té y dos panes. Niños completamentes desnutridos por la falta de proteina, por la falta de vitaminas. La leche hace mucho tiempo los niños no conocen <v Juan Albanil Barba>que es la leche. La carne mucho menos todavía, tampoco conocen que es comer carne. No saben, por ejemplo, ?inaudible? es un verdugo, una fruta. Este ?inaudible? para nuestros
<v Juan Albanil Barba>niños de allí no pueden ni siquiera provechar los, los escasos estudios que pueden recibir por los jovenes.] <v Juan Albanil Barba>[Speaking Spanish, captions as follows: My name is Juan Albanil Barba. I have lived in this slum since 1971. I was the block representative for 3 years. This place started on 29 <v Juan Albanil Barba>April 1971 when the Pamplona district was occupied, and we were allowed to move in here later. That's how the slum developed. We have a lot of problems. For instance, <v Juan Albanil Barba>unemployment, tuberculosis, undernourishment, and people pine away slowly. There is another big problem, there is no work here, so people have to travel a long way to earn their <v Juan Albanil Barba>living.]
<v Narrator>The tropical rainforests are disappearing. <v Narrator>If the present trend continues, they will be little more than a memory <v Narrator>within one generation. <v Narrator>For the people of the rainforests, this is a catastrophe. <v Narrator>For the world, it means climatic changes, but it also <v Narrator>means that we're risking the loss of nearly 5 million kinds <v Narrator>of plants, insects and animals. <v Narrator>Half of all that exist on Earth. <v Narrator>This means that we shall have lost forever a genetic bank where <v Narrator>otherwise we would have been able to obtain in future still unknown <v Narrator>medicinal herbs and plant material for experiments. <v Narrator>In the United Nations, a worldwide plan is now under discussion
<v Narrator>in order to stop this destruction of the world's lungs. <v Narrator>The trend can be stopped. <v Kipling Jiregari>[Speaking Binandere from earlier scene, no captions provided.] <v Tom Grimes>Most of the filming by our Swedish partners was done 2 years ago, and so we want to find <v Tom Grimes>out what's happened since then. To do that, we have with us Dr. Lawrence Gilbert,
<v Tom Grimes>associate professor of zoology at the University of Texas at Austin. <v Tom Grimes>Dr. Gilbert's specialty is the study of the relationship between plants and animals in <v Tom Grimes>tropical rainforests. Dr. Gilbert, the film just stated that the United Nations was <v Tom Grimes>debating a worldwide plan designed to stop destruction of tropical rainforest. <v Tom Grimes>What's happened to date? <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>That plan has been published and it is indeed a <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>global conservation strategy <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>for all habitat types and all environmental types. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>In addition to the rainforest. <v Tom Grimes>Has anything been implemented from the plan? <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>I believe it's too soon to say that many things have been implemented from it. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>I think what we can say is that more governments are now aware <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>of the overall problem created by the rapid removal <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>of tropical forest. <v Tom Grimes>What's happening to the Jant company? Is it still clearcutting? <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>The Jant company and other, several other companies in the New Guinea plains
<v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>are still operating. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>There is some reason to believe that the rate at which they are removing <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>previously undisturbed forest is now slowing due to <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>a number of independent things that are happening. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>The villagers are becoming more aware of what it means to sell the timber rights to the <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>government, as you can see in the film. And also there are, there are efforts <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>to establish wildlife management areas which are which focus <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>on preserving some of the endangered species, such as the world's largest <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>butterfly, ornithoptera alexandrae, which is part of the commercial insect trade that is <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>now helping to support some of the villages. <v Tom Grimes>I see. One of the last lines in the film spoke about stopping the destruction of, <v Tom Grimes>quote, the world's lungs. <v Tom Grimes>What do they mean by that? <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>That's a very interesting metaphor. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>And it's also interesting to note that not only the U.N. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>is using such metaphors, but the New Guinea tribesmen was talking about
<v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>the forest is the skin, which we can't do without. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>And both of these things have a biological basis. <v Tom Grimes>Could you elaborate a little bit about what would happen to the world's <v Tom Grimes>weather systems, the world's food supply, what have you, if tropical forests <v Tom Grimes>disappeared tomorrow? <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>Tropical forests are a pool of half <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>of the carbon, the element carbon, which is <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>fixed into energy molecules by the process of photosynthesis, <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>that is sugars, woods, starches and so forth. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>If these were suddenly removed and burned, we would roughly double the <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>amount of carbon dioxide being put into the atmosphere, which would <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>lead to an increase in the global atmospheric temperature. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>It is believed that this would induce certain climatic changes at a great <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>distance from the tropical forests themselves, which would have an
<v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>implication for growing seasons for the suitability of certain <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>areas for agriculture. The exact outcome of that is something that we'll never know. <v Tom Grimes>What would happen-. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>'Til it happens. <v Tom Grimes>Oh, I see. What would happen, particularly in the forest itself, <v Tom Grimes>to the animals who live there, the people who live there? <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>The narration of the film suggests that there would be a total destruction <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>of all life that took so many millions of years to develop. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>And in fact, and on a local level, this may be true, but indeed we <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>should point out that natural disturbance is an important part of every <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>forest, including tropical forests, and that landslides, <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>fires, earthquakes are constantly creating disturbance and no one patch <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>of forest is more than a few hundred years old. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>So that means that there's a natural process of regeneration, of disturbance,
<v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>of open ground that is part of the forest. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>And what we're seeing in this particular type of lumbering, which amounts to <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>mining a nonrenewable resource. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>What we see here is removal of forests on such a scale <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>that the renewal process of the forest is disrupted. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>That is the big problem. <v Tom Grimes>You know, one of the most striking features of the film for me was that interview with <v Tom Grimes>the tribal chief, for that chief and for his people, destruction of <v Tom Grimes>the rainforest seems to mean a destruction of their world. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>It is the destruction of their world. It's the destruction of their culture, because they <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>have a culture which has evolved, as it were, in harmony <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>with this environment. Their foods, their shelter, their medicines, everything comes from <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>the forest. And they've managed to live in harmony with this particular ecological system <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>and the loss of such a cultural heritage and of all the information
<v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>they possess. They're very sophisticated in their knowledge of this system. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>And the loss of that little piece of human culture is equally <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>the equivalent of losing the genetic heritage of a species. <v Tom Grimes>I want to touch on something that you spoke about just a second ago. <v Tom Grimes>I wonder, is the pessimism regarding the future of the world's rainforest <v Tom Grimes>justifiable, in your opinion? <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>I believe it is. And I think, I think that the pessimism is reflected <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>in every document which is published concerning the <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>problem, and I should say that in addition to the UN report, there <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>are any number of U.S. agencies very concerned with this. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>The State Department, A.I.D, the National Academy of Science just came <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>out with a report. There is a tremendous amount of concern <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>by the United States in tropical deforestation. <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>And I think it's, there is a general concern that the problem <v Dr. Lawrence Gilbert>is something which will affect us economically, environmentally,
Threat to the Rain Forest
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
'Threat to the Rain Forests' looks at the ongoing destruction of the world's tropical rain forests--the planet's lungs. A Swedish documentary made by filmmakers Lasse and Lisa Berg, the film's cameras travel to the jungles of New Guinea and the Amazon Basin to explore the human suffering that has resulted from logging operations which each year strip millions of acres of forest. The program also considers dangerous changes in world climate which might result if the destruction of rain forests continues.--1981 Peabody Awards entry form.
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"EXCHANGE is a series of five hour-long documentaries produced by independent filmmakers from the United States, Canada, West Germany and Sweden, presented on PBS by KERA-TV.
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
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Duration: 0:58:46
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Chicago: “Exchange; Threat to the Rain Forest,” 1981-09-04, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “Exchange; Threat to the Rain Forest.” 1981-09-04. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Exchange; Threat to the Rain Forest. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from