As the special envoy on climate change for the World Bank, Andrew Steer might be thought of as the $6 billion man of environmental finance. He oversees more than that amount for projects to fight the effects of global warming.
It was as I lay in a Singapore hospital bed — ablaze with dengue fever but shivering in a sweat that chilled my aching bones — that I began to understand why villagers in a remote part of Indonesia would trade their forest for decent health services.
Farmers are often portrayed as the villains, slashing and burning trees to clear land for crops and wrecking forests from the Amazon to Indonesia (…not to mention Europe, where people cleared most forests thousands of years ago).
Clashes in the Amazon between indigenous protestors and Peru’s army that killed some 60 people last week throw some old issues into sharp new relief: development versus the environment and local versus foreign control of natural resources.