The Not-So-Great Migration?
The migration of tens of thousands of Brazilians from the Amazon rainforest to cities has lessened one environmental crisis but created other serious problems. Now fewer farmers are tearing down swathes of forest to open up new agricultural land, but cities in the Amazon region have been overwhelmed by the influx of new people. A public health crisis has sprung up because the cities don’t have adequate water supplies or sewage facilities. High unemployment, violent crime, drugs, and child prostitution are also serious problems. “In the cities there are few mechanisms for creating jobs and little basic infrastructure. The result is acute social misery,” says Roberto Smeraldi, director of Friends of the Earth Brazil.