Greetings from the Amazon Jungle. We are currently staying in an eco-park outside Manaus, Brazil enjoying the sights and sounds of the jungle. Before discussing the Amazon, I’d like to catch you up on some of our educational experiences.
On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to tour the factory and offices of Natura, one of South America’s largest cosmetics and skincare producers. The facility was beautiful, and the company appeared to be a leader in sustainability and social responsibility, from the enhanced use of daylighting to a natural line of products called Ekos to on-site child care for Natura employees. On Thursday, we spent the day at Alcoa’s corporate offices in Sao Paulo, where some of the company’s executives talked about some of the challenges in the bauxite mining and aluminum refining industry, such as maximizing use of Brazil’s vast hydroelectric power and protecting the rainforest and people in the Amazon region. On Friday, we visited Alcoa’s operations in Poços de Caldas, a city 250 kilometers north of Sao Paulo. On the tour we saw a smelting plants, bauxite residue ponds, the company’s envrionmental education park, a botanical garden, and a school for mentally disabled people that is funded by Alcoa. The tour was impressive and showed what Alcoa has been doing in one community to rectify its environmental impacts and be more socially responsible.
For the last few days, we have been in the Amazon jungle in northern Brazil. We have visited a monkey park, been pirahna fishing, seen the “meeting of the waters” where the Rio Negro and Amazon River meet, and had a very interesting presentation about eco-tourism in the Amazon. Our next stop is Lima, Peru, where we will look forward to an authentic Peruvian meal served by one of our own student’s mothers.