Amazon and what does it have to do with architecture?
Have you noticed that the weather is changing? Is this year hotter than you
remembered it being in past years? Are the winters colder than usual?
Are there more severe storms?
The green-house effect, from the burning of fossil fuels, has been noted by many as
the primary culprit in the changing weather conditions of our world.
I do not profess to be an expert in this field. I can certainly state that the
weather is not the same as I remember it being fifty years ago. I would also
like to make it very clear that, I am not a fanatic about this, or am I trying to imply
that the situation is hopeless and the world is coming to an end. On the
contrary, man is resilient and although he has to be hit over the head sometimes to get
his attention, I believe that enough people now see the problem as something that has to
One easily understood factor, in this weather phenomena can be found in the
Amazon and in other tropical areas of our planet. Forests
are being cut and burned at an alarming rate. Man has a habit of forgetting his past mistakes. One very costly error made
by people, who had no education In ecology, occurred
in the western area of our country during the early 1900s. It was referred to
as the dust-bowl days. This disaster in America was the direct result of
farmers plowing up the prairie grasses of the west to plant crops. Land and climate
in that area were better suited to the grasses which had been growing for centuries on
these planes, than for the crops the farmers wanted to grow. Their actions
resulted in dust storms which have never been equaled in American history. Billions
of cubic feet of top soil were lost as it was carried off by high winds, generated by the
hot barren land.
Saw Mill on the Amazon River
It has been said, that the
survival of the entire human race depends on only, the top two inches of soil of this earth.
Keeping this in mind, the fate of the world could now easily rest in the hands of only a
few individuals who have it in their power to correct a situation, not dissimilar to those
dark days of the west. The dust storms
today are just a memory. The farmers of our country realized the mistake they had
made in plowing up the land and took action to return it to a more natural state.
There is still hope if people can be educated. Maybe they can look at, and profit
from our past mistake. Intelligent use of the forests is
in the interest of all humanity for wood is a primary building material. Education in
forest management is where many governments are failing all the peoples of our planet.
Selective cutting of trees is in the interest of all nations. Killing the forests
does irreparable damage to the future of any country. It is difficult to understand
why the leaders of our world cannot see this and take collective action to correct a
situation which is almost out of control.
Architecture is what stands between man and his environment. His home
separates him from a world of extremes in both heat and cold. The architects of
today are being presented with many new challenges. Most of these are being
created by people who do not realize that in changing the ecology in their country they are now making a difference
world-wide. The question here is an equation between education, profit
and the ecology. Which one will determine the future of the world for the
generations yet to come. I hope education will be the deciding
factor. Architects using new technology will have to
rise to meet the challenges which are being brought on by an ever-changing world.
Quote from Frank Lloyd Wright "The architect must be a prophet, a
prophet in the true sense of
the term. If he can't see at least ten years ahead, don't call him an
You can see how things have changed, in the short span of years from the time these
words were spoken by Frank Lloyd Wright. As the world is now,
one hundred years today, would be the same as ten years, in his lifetime.
Amazon and the Rain Forests
I had the good fortune to be born at a time when America still had many wonderful
forests. Acid rain was unknown; and the extinction of the species was referred to only when discussing the
I fished in clean rivers and sat and watched thousands of egrets and pelicans in
rookeries where they bred unmolested by civilization. This was a wonderful time and
I regret that the generation now growing up will never experience nature as I remember
it. I am not so old that the short span of my life should have seen such a change in
our world, but sad to say it has.
My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Peru and the rainforests of the
Amazon. We wanted to see for ourselves this last visage of nature before it, too,
Peru, the Amazon, and Iquitos
Few of the visitors to this Web-Site will have the
opportunity to make the trip to the rainforests of the Amazon. I hope that in some
small way, I can make this trip a visual reality for the
arm-chair adventurers who might never get the chance. Most of the pictures which you
will see here are recorded on digital video tape made with a 3CCD camcorder. It was
my first experiment in this media.
Landing in Lima Peru, was the
beginning of our tour through this wonderfully historic country. Peru has a history dating back centuries and a complete resume of
our trips to the ruins of the Incas might come in future additions to this Web-Site. For now, the rain forests are our primary concern.
The flight from Lima to Iquitos, the
doorway to the rainforests, is a long one with the route passing over the highest
snow-capped peaks of the Andes. Seeing snow on mountains so close to the rain
forests is certainly something one would not expect; and I might add, it was a complete
surprise. As you can see, this would be a perfect mountain for any
skier, who might have a death wish.
Almost as if by magic, the mountains ended and the low flat terrain began with rivers
running like coiled snakes, doubling back on themselves and never running a straight
course. Water is the life blood of the Amazon. Every aspect of daily
life begins on, and ends with water as the primary factor in the lives of the people
living in this region. Once you leave Iquitos for the interior, a boat
is the only way you can travel.
If you require air-conditioning for comfort; and television and newspapers are
necessary for your daily existence, then this is one trip you should not
undertake. There is no electricity, no radio, no telephone, nothing of
civilization as we know it. Instead, there is a peace
and tranquility that descends upon anyone living in this misty jungle. Just the
knowledge that you are so far from civilization, that even the tax collector could not
find you. leaves you with a feeling unlike anything you can imagine.
Although you travel on it, live over it and have it fall on you as rain, one
thing you do not do in the Amazon is drink the water. Of course, I might add you do
not drink the local water on any trip outside of the USA... When making a trip such
as this, you can count on spending more for bottled water than on any other commodity
except plane fare.
Just joking, it only seemed that way.
Iquitos is like no other city. It is the gateway to the Amazon and located far from
civilization. You might not expect to find that the main method of transportation
from one place to another would be a three-wheeled motorcycle. I was told that there
are over twenty thousand of these vehicles in the area. This is a much different way to
get from place to place than most of us are used to. The limited supply of gasoline and
its cost, in this remote area, makes this a very practical solution.
Do not expect to find anything like air-conditioned offices or hotels here; and the
docking facilities definitely do not comply with the latest safety codes. Have faith
in progress. As you can see here, in the < picture, construction is now
well underway on the new and improved facilities for the port of Iquitos. So wear
comfortable shoes, preferably water resistant, and with a sole designed for good traction.
The ground is usually quite wet and muddy.
For your information, I have included a picture of one wall of the office of our
guide, Gilberto, the owner of the Amazon Lodge. I am sure that he would welcome your
visit. Our quarters for the next few days will be located in his facilities
far from Iquitos in the verdant world of the Amazon...
If you are really interested in going on this
" safari ", with Gilberto as your guide,
get your cameras out. Get waterproof shoes with deep treads. Wear a
gadget-carrying vest, obtainable from most camera supply stores. Get a hat
with a built in fan, ( just kidding ) it would be nice, though. Buy about one dozen
small cotton towels to take care of perspiration. For sure, have a flashlight for
each person, It gets very dark in Amazon country. Bring a note pad, you cannot remember
Suntan lotion is an option, there is a lot of
overcast in this region. Good insect repellant is a must. Bring your own
water, although bottled water at the Lodge is provided. Bring plastic bags to keep
your laundry in till you return to a Laundromat. It may turn green in the bag if
left too long, I'm not kidding!
Do not forget tee-shirts as gifts for the Indians. Small sizes for the children are
especially appreciated, as well as toys. The elders of the indian
villages look kindly on anyone bringing gifts for the little ones. If you are one of the
fortunate ones with a gift they like, they may even hold a special dance
festival for you with a band made up of the local people. :-)
TP is not required at the Lodge, They have a
supply for tourists. If you want to go native there is a leaf from a local plant
that can be used, it is soft and fuzzy. Do not confuse this plant with any
plants in the poison ivy family, ( of course this is just a joke
but there is such a plant.... )
Even if you do not want to make the safari, let me
act as your guide on a tour of the Amazon.
Good luck ! You will return here at the end of your trip, Hit
You are one of many visitors to make the trip
into the Amazon
Safaris started 06/20/99 So there are still some trees left to see.