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Nation-States and the Global EnvironmentNew Approaches to International Environmental History$
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Erika Marie Bsumek, David Kinkela, and Mark Atwood Lawrence

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199755356

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199755356.001.0001

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The Brazilian Amazon and the Transnational Environment, 1940–1990

The Brazilian Amazon and the Transnational Environment, 1940–1990

(p.228) 11 The Brazilian Amazon and the Transnational Environment, 1940–1990
Nation-States and the Global Environment

Seth Garfield

Oxford University Press

This essay analyzes the reframing of the Brazilian Amazon in contemporary international affairs. It explores how the socioeconomic and ecological change unleashed under Brazilian military rule (1964-85) and its aftermath collided with the contemporaneous popularization of environmental politics in the Northern Hemispherees to transform public policies and local conflicts in Amazonian forests into new transnational fields. Novel scientific disciplines, technologies, and cultural vocabularies served to remake the Amazon in the popular and political imaginary in the North and in Brazil. Shifting ideologies, in turn, impelled and sustained conservationist initiatives at the local and international level. Yet the contemporary ruckus over the Amazon also represents another node in the forest’s longstanding entanglement with patterns of industrial consumerism and civilizing projects. A comparison of the representations of the Amazon rubber trade from World War II to contemporary green movements offers a revealing study of changes and continuities in outsiders’ attitudes towards the region. In probing how governments have grappled with environmental problems that defy the capabilities of a single nation, this essay uses a historical lens to explore how they came to be perceived that way.

Keywords:   amazon, rubber tappers, brazil, environmental politics, biodiversity, deforestation, global warming

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