The health of the Amazon affects everyone

The estimated rate of deforestation in the Amazon has increased drastically, according to PRODES (Programa Despolução de Bacias Hidrográficas, or “Basin Restoration Program”). A recent report indicates a 29 percent increase from 2015 to 2016.

David Good, an adjunct biology professor at NCC, leads The Good Project. It is a “nonprofit organization that works with programs that support education, healthcare, and cultural preservation among remote indigenous people in Central and South America,” Good said.

The Good Project has traveled to the Amazon four times since 2011 to work with the Yanomami and is planning another expedition slated for the end of this year.

The Amazon Basin and the people that live there have been ravaged by more problems than deforestation.

“The destruction of the Amazon has come to light now because of the fires, but it’s nothing new. Deforestation, mercury poisoning from gold mining, and biopiracy are all issues the Amazon has been dealing with for a while,” Good said.

“We need to protect the Amazon for many reasons, and unless we have the right government infrastructure, you can scream and march all you want, it’s not going to change,” he said. “The only way we will really care is when we finally realize that climate change is happening now and by then it will be too late.”

 The main group of indigenous people that The Good Project works with is the Yanomami. The Yanomami are a group of hunter-farmers-gatherers living in the Amazon rainforest across the southeastern Venezuelan and northwestern Brazilian border.

 In their last expedition to the Amazon, The Good Project focused on microbiome research. A microbiome is a community of microorganisms (including bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a certain environment.

“The Yanomami took center stage after a study which indicated that the gut bacteria of one remote community had the highest diversity seen in any human group,” states The Good Projects’ 2018 expedition report, “ the negative effects of a Western lifestyle, has been shown to have drastically decreased our microbial diversity.”

Even with the dangers they face the Yanomami and many other ingenious groups go about their hunting, fishing, and living. The Good Project helps protect the rainforest and the indigenous people who call it home.

To support and follow The Good Project and all they do follow them on Facebook and go to jointhegoodproject.com for more information. You can also contact David Good at david@nulljointhegoodproject.com.