Below the Equator

Sexing for the Rainforest & Saharan
Sands Sweeping Over South America

There is no sin on the low side of the equator. The loosely translated sentence is from a 1970s Brazilian song that plays with preconceived notions about South America being a paradise of promiscuity, exoticism and wild animals. It should have said Norway instead.
That’s where a troupe devised a novel way to support the Rainforest: having sex for it. As this peculiar notion penetrates the deep cavity of your brain, let’s add another piece of the puzzle: every summer, a Sahara dust cloud comes to visit the continent’s shores.
There’s obviously no connection between the two facts, except that they both relate to that massive tropical land, where Americans speak Portuguese and Spanish, and little English, and that seems at times to offer an odd counterpart to its big brother in the North.
Again, let’s make yet another detour. One of the pleasures of writing a blog is to set oneself challenges in order to tell stories that one hopes, can’t be found anywhere else. How we’re going to find a common sense between these two strands of narrative is today’s quest. You’ll be the judge as to whether we’ll manage it.
We keep collecting stories in a dusty file, any of which could strike our fancy and serve us well as a springboard to talk about our favorite themes. You know, life, the universe, and all the fish, issues we hardly know anything about and shouldn’t even be allowed to tackle. But why make it easy to ourselves?
We could always offer our absolutely worthless take on the Brazilian government’s new homegrown email system, an attempt to ward off spying from the NSA, Canada, everyone and their mothers-in-law, which according to recent files leaked by Edward Snowden, has been rampant for years. The spying, not the mothers. Or have they too?
We could also add our two cents to the apparent Latin American trend of digging up dead people. Nothing to top a good Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s story, for the record. But if it means to understand the continent’s unresolved, and bloody, past, (and to pay up those cents before they get devalued again), we’re all for it.
Or, if we really wished to be jocose, we could digress at length about Aparecido Castaldo and his unwavering love for Carmella. In Brazil, the biggest Catholic country in the world, with a growing demographics of very wealthy messianic pastors and their millions of followers, he couldn’t find a Christian priest to marry them.
So he did what any sensible groom would do in such adverse circumstances: he booked Toninho do Diabo (Tom the Devil), a well-known Satanist, to perform the ceremony at his very own Devil’s Church. The couple got happily married last week in São Paulo, the local media was glad to report. Note: Carmella is, (fittingly?), a goat.

Or we could also write about a huge wall of dinosaurs recently uncovered in Bolivia, but we obviously have way more important things to discuss today. You see, one thing that comes with being a blogger is to easily develop a crooked sense of priorities. In other words, the more we blog, the worse judgments we make. Moving on.
Fuck for Forest, the Norwegian group of activists, has been around since 2004, and we couldn’t say that they’re the first to use their well, er oily skills in bed to attract attention, and donations, to indigenous peoples living in the Amazon Rainforest. You may question their methods, but is there anything wrong with their goals?
Hardly. We all know that the history of independent and official groups dedicated to ‘save’ the forest is littered with its fair share of good intentions and zero results, your run-of-the-mill grassroots movement as well as the shameless celebrity, and even the well-meaning kind too. All but real change.
That doesn’t mean that some efforts are without merit, even if in the small scale that FFF (yup, they like the acronym) has achieved so far. And to say that they use the easiest mean to raise funds possible, selling homemade porn videos, is an understatement. Their effort could as well become the industry’s second most important role.

The high technological precision of NOAA satellites has increasingly become essential to our understanding of the pace and changes in global climate and atmospheric conditions. The annual tracking of thousands of tons of Sahara dust is just one of the ways they’re making us aware of what’s going on up there.
Every early spring and summer, a massive cloud the size of the continental U.S. travels from Africa over to the shores of South America and beyond, but its patterns and impact are only now beginning to be understood. Not to worry, prospective travelers: it won’t get into your underwear any more than regular sand already does.
But it travels high up, some 5,000 feet above the Atlantic, coming from the great Sahara desert and reaching as far west as Caracas, and north as the Florida Keys. There’s at least one silver lining in this cloud, besides representing little danger to aircraft: it lessens the impact of hurricanes.
The plume, or Saharan Air Layer as it’s officially known, acts as an atmospheric absorbent to the heated moist that fuels hurricanes. So in years when dust storms are most powerful, less hurricane activity may be expected. That and, of course, beautiful sunsets, reflected in all that dust floating in the air.

Now that we brought you to a nice place, paper butterfly drinks in hand and a mellifluous melody in the background, we wouldn’t dare bursting your bubble with stories about the millions of miserably poor, the seemingly ingrained, widespread government corruption, and the continent’s propensity to, every other generation, take two steps backwards.
In fact, these are as much about cliche as those that the Chico Buarque song, that we’ve mentioned at the start, playfully sets to a samba beat. And given the mediocre operetta that Washington DC has performed in the past several weeks, it’d be even unfair to say that there’s a flight to escapism permeating the entire region.
Apparently, the bizarre and the absurd in politics are no longer exclusive domains of South America; a group of very rich elected representatives are doing their worst to take that dubious honor away from the bottom part of the equator for good. In some ways, they have already succeed the moment they adopted reality as an option not a mandate.
Still, if the allure of one of the most exuberant displays of wild nature on Earth, the Amazon jungle, attracts the kind of unusual solidarity sentiment that inspired FFF to go to bed for it, and even the sands of a distant desert pay their respects, there must be something down there we can’t quite downplay as a fluke of phony deities.
Read Also:
* Rainforest at Risk
* Amazon News

One thought on “Below the Equator

  1. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    From the first sentence, you are engaging, Wesley! I had never heard that saying. And it’s a great way to open a post.

    I clicked on the link about the homegrown email system. !!! I will be watching that space with much interest.

    Another great read – right down to the tags you use “Fuck for forest”. You’re so funny 🙂


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