As a visual artist, I use photography to communicate ideas and information about things I feel passionately for. Like the environment. In October 2005, with funding from howies Earth Tax, I travelled for the first time to the Amazonian rainforest, to document the impact deforestation is having not just on the natural world, but on the people who work and live sustainably underneath the vast, protective canopy.
Not only is the scale of the rainforest beyond descriptive words, but its destruction is too. Here's a statistic: In 2003, an area of prime, virgin rainforest equivalent to the size of Denmark was destroyed. Forever. And last two years have been the worst ever for deforestation. Why? Illegal logging, yes. Cattle farming, certainly. But the main threat now is the humble soy bean. It's a valuable cash crop which can help pay off its foreign debts and with the backing of foreign multinationals is making millionaires out of a handful of
people who will stop at nothing to see this industry spread. Along the unpaved highway BR163, which stretches for over 1100 miles through Para and Mato Grosso states, you see the destruction. The rainforest is being slashed, burned and cleared and soy planted
for human consumption, mainly in China and Europe.
Can we stop this madness and save the Earth's beating heart? Yes. By supporting NGOs, environmental pressure groups and charities working for the benefit of the Amazon and its people, we can preserve this precious, unique natural resource which benefits us all.
My journey along the controversial highway, the front line between the environment and rapacious development, was at once enlightening, depressing, stimulating and rewarding. I hope my pictures can communicate this.
To view more images
please visit www.colinmcpherson.co.uk
Each year howies gives 1% of its turnover, or 10% of pre-tax profits (whichever is the greater) to its Earth Tax to pay towards environmental or social causes that we care about. As we grow, so will our donations.