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La voz de la Tierra
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Under a Brazilian Sun

Ilha Grande de Santa Isabel

 

Ilha Grande de Santa Isabel is the largest island in the fluvial delta of ParnaĆ­ba river.

It is home to fishermen, artisans, and farmers.

Its beauty is completely ignored by mainstream tourists. The absence of international airports close by and the lack of facilities on the island protected its innocence and the failed attempt of touristic speculation resembles a miracle more than a fate.

 
 

The sun goes down at 6 p.m. on this equatorial, timeless island. The wind is strong and runs through silent sand dunes, a mystical landscape that starts singing when the wind grows. The only way to cross this wide desert is by following the stars.

Those sand mountains are giants who lost their chains to the ground because of irresponsible exploitation of the vegetation.

Most of the inhabitants of Ilha Grande de Santa Isabel lack basic education as well as economical resources. They used to cut wood from the dunes in order to cook with wood ovens, electrical service being a recent event on this part of the planet.


 
 

The dunes started to move year after year, and the wind began to invade their beds.
One village has already been buried by these unfriendly invaders who demand revenge for an unconscious environmental crime. People fear the moment when they will be forced to leave their homes and are asking for governmental help, which is arriving too slowly and in controversial ways.

The estuary that surrounds the island is also being compromised by the dunes' attack.
Rivers are locally exploited for crab fishery, an economic interest that moves interregional economic relations in North-Eastern Brazil.
Few humanitarian actors are aware of the environmental crisis happening on the island, and communities are left alone in their fight for a safe place.


 
 

Ilha Grande de Santa Isabel and its Delta is part of a 66 km coastline of a widely unknown region of Brazil called PiauĆ­, whose main perception in the collective imagination is that of an infernally hot, unfriendly desert.

The beauty of the island is ignored to the point of making it hard to believe, for those who went there, that it was a real place, and not only the result of an extraordinary dream.

 
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