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Lesson: Learn about the Amazon with Marta

Take a trip to the Amazon and learn about the world’s largest rainforest and why it is currently under threat of destruction.

Lesson
Revision Notes

Brazilian football legend, Marta Vieira da Silva, known to the world as Marta, currently plays for the Orlando Pride in the US National Women’s Soccer League and for Brazil. She is widely regarded as the greatest female player in the world.

Marta was born in Dios Riachos a small town in the Alagoas region of Brazil, a remote area over 1200 miles from Rio de Janeiro.

The interior of Brazil is one of the world’s most important ecosystems. 60% of the Amazonian rain forest lies within Brazil. It is an area under severe threat from one of the world’s major environmental problems: habitat destruction.

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Marta

Marta Vieira da Silva, known as Marta, was born in 1986 in Dois Riachos, Brazil. She is widely considered the greatest female soccer player of all time. She is a six-time winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

 She began playing with a local boys’ team, until she was discovered at the age of fourteen by a scout from well-known Brazilian team Vasco de Gama. She later played Santa Cruz before joining Sweden’s Umeå IK in 2004.

Marta first gained widespread fame during her time with Umeå, which she led to the 2004 UEFA Women’s Cup title. She also helped Umeå capture four consecutive Damallsvenskan (Sweden’s highest level of women’s domestic football) championships between 2005 and 2008, as well as a Swedish Cup title in 2007.

Marta scored a remarkable 111 goals in 103 league games during her five seasons with Umeå. She left Europe in 2009 to sign with the Los Angeles Sol of the Women’s Professional Soccer League. Marta was named the WPS Most Valuable Player in 2009, before she joined FC Gold Pride of Santa Clara, California. She led the Gold Pride to a WPS title, taking home a second league MVP award in 2010 and won a second WPS championship in 2011 as a member of the Western New York Flash.

During the WPS off seasons in 2009 and 2010, Marta played with Santos FC in her home country. When the WPS suspended operations in 2012, Marta returned to Sweden as a member of Tyresö FF. She moved to FC Rosengard in 2014. Three years later she joined the Orlando Pride of the United States’ National Women’s Soccer League, where she still plays.

Marta’s greatest claim to fame is her performances as a member of the Brazilian women’s national team. She made her international football debut in 2002 as a member of Brazil’s under-20 Women’s World Cup team.

The following year, she joined the senior national squad and scored three goals at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup where Brazil was eliminated in the quarter-finals. At the 2007 Women’s World Cup, she won the Golden Boot by scoring seven goals during the tournament and led Brazil to a second-place finish.

 In 2011 Marta increased her career Cup goal tally to 14. She scored her 15th World Cup goal in 2015, to set a new record for Women’s World Cup scoring. At the 2019 Women’s World Cup, she scored her 17th World Cup goal, making her the all-time World Cup top goal scorer in both men’s and women’s competitions.

 

Habitat Destruction
The Amazon

The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest and the largest river basin on the planet. The region is believed to be home to 10% of all species on Earth. Of plant species found in this region, 75% are unique to the Amazon, and there are 3,000 species of fish, the largest number in world.

Today, the Amazon is facing a multitude of threats as a result of unsustainable economic development; 20% of the Amazon biome has already been lost and the trend will worsen if gone unchecked.

Amazon is the biggest deforestation front in the world and interventions are urgently needed to prevent a large-scale, irreversible ecological disaster. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that 27 per cent of the Amazon will be without trees by 2030 if the current rate of deforestation continues.

Deforestation rates in the Amazon have declined over the last decade but continue at an alarming rate and recent changes in the attitudes of political leaders in Brazil have created an even greater threat. Not only that, deforestation by Andean Amazon countries, namely Bolivia and Peru, is increasing.

The areas showing the greatest deforestation rates are those that have more roads. The strong correlation between the location of deforestation fronts and the presence of existing roads or projections of new roads suggests that in the near future there will be isolated deforestation fronts becoming connected along major infrastructure development routes. Other factors exacerbating pressure in the region include an increase in cattle ranching and soya bean plantations, particularly in Bolivia.

Using 2005 deforestation rates, it is estimated that the Amazon rainforest will be reduced by 40% in two decades.

In September 2015, Brazilian president Dilma Rouseff told the United Nations that Brazil had effectively reduced the rate of deforestation in the Amazon by 82%. She also announced that over the next 15 years, Brazil aimed to eliminate illegal deforestation, restore, and reforest 46,000 square miles, and recover 58,000 square miles of degraded pastures.

In May 2019, eight former environment ministers in Brazil warned, "We're facing the risk of runaway deforestation in the Amazon”, as rainforest destruction increased. It coincided with the first year of the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, who seems to be prepared to let the Amazon be exploited for agriculture and development.

 In September 2019, Carlos Nobre, expert on the Amazon and climate change, warned that at the current rates of deforestation, we are 20 to 30 years from reaching a tipping point that could turn big parts of the Amazon forest into dry savanna, especially in the southern and northern Amazon.

Bolsonaro has rejected attempts by European politicians to challenge him over the rainforest deforestation, referring to this as Brazil's domestic affairs. Bolsonaro has stated that Brazil should open more areas to mining, including in the Amazon, and that he has spoken with the US president about a future joint development programme for the Brazilian Amazon region.

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