Where Did The Swallows Go?
The Kawaiwete people say ” The Swallow, She brings the rain” But if there are no Swallows how can they effectively predict when to plant the Bananas and the Yam and the Cotton?
If they do plant, how can they successfully produce a healthy yield?
The Xingu Indigenous land in the Southern part of the Brazilian rainforest is now an island, surrounded by deforestation.
Brazil produced 86 million tons of Soy Beans in 2014. They also dumped 1 Billion litres of pesticides into the ground. The result for the Xingu land is devastating. The crops are dying from heat and thirst and infestation because all the shelter and protection the forest offered is now gone.
Land the equivalent size of 230 thousand football field was destroyed in the Xingu river headwaters to produce Soy and Corn. In the last 30 years this equates to 42%.
Because there is no shelter from heat or wind, forest fire has decimated another 10%. The Kawaiwete cannot stop the fires like they used to because the ground is too dry.
As well as the lack of Swallows, the other traditional portents of rain such as singing Cicadas and the Awataba star can no longer be relied upon. “If the food runs out how will our grandchildren eat?” they ask.
For the 6,500 indigenous population who have always relied upon the forest there is a real concern for the future.