Chico Mendes

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The life of Chico Mendes.

Born: December 15, 1944
Xapuri, Brazil

Died: December 22, 1988
(aged 44)
Xapuri, Brazil

"At first I thought I was fighting to save rubber trees, then I thought I was fighting to save the Amazon rainforest. Now I realise I am fighting for humanity."

Chico was many things, he was a steward to this earth, a unionist,an enviromental activist , a father, a husband and the list carrys on. This story starts with Chico being a rubber tapper. Following his father, he was "a seringueiro", a rubber tapper. He farmed a small clearing, but relied on the sale of rubber from several hundred native rubber trees in the rain forest itself to provide income for him and his family. Chico inherited the land and the trees from his father who had begun tapping them in the 1930s. Two long v-shaped cuts made with care in the bark of each rubber tree would produce one or two cups of the rubber.Chico also collect other natural forest products, such as fruits and Brazil nuts, allthough this didn't make much of a difference to his income. There was approximately 100,000 other rubber tappers living throughout the rain forest, and this is what they do as well. It is sustainable harvest which does not destroy the forest.

When Chico was a young boy, him and his father would go rubber tapping together because it was one of the very few job available. At that day and age, the rubber tappers were conned out of their money by the people who bought the rubber. Becaue of the little education they all recieved, they couldn't do basic things, like reading or writing. The man that bought the rubber would lie about how much rubber he was given and the price the rubber was worth. This was changed when Chico met a man called Wilson, Wilson came to the rainforest because he was told you could get rich from rubber tapping and told Chico that if he taught him how to tap rubber than in return, Wilson would educate Chico about things like,...
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