Which leads us to a new round of questions: Does such a model exist? Is it possible to make use of the richness of Amazonian fauna and flora without harming its biodiversity? Is it possible to take advantage of hydroelectric potential, extract mineral resources and build roads to transport grain, all while ensuring the well-being of local populations? Further, can this occur without harming the Amazon’s delicately balanced ecosystem that helps regulate the global climate?
The Amazon was devastated when it was viewed as a frontier to be conquered, and predatory extraction was justified by the myth of a demographic void. Nor did the region prosper when it was designated the world’s untouchable “lungs,” condemning parts of Brazil to economic stagnation. Unfortunately, we need to admit that we still oscillate between these two poles, in a limbo that does not benefit anyone.
We will have to be bold if we want to include Amazonian natural capital in a win-win equation. Innovation, research, science and technology are the starting point for the creation of new business models, generated within an agenda that is both productive and responsible. We began this constructive dialogue in an event held on September 5—not by chance the date when Amazon Day was celebrated—at the Museum of Tomorrow, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that brought together leaders from a range of sectors.