1. Heads of state and tens of thousands of participants and protesters will descend on Rio de Janeiro later this month for the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development or “Earth Summit”.
2. The summit aims to overcome years of deadlock over environmental concerns and marks the 20th anniversary of the landmark Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, which delivered the Climate Convention and a host of other promises.
3. Brazil is caught up in its own dilemma, having to choose between accelerated growth and environmental preservation.
4. The Brazilian Amazon, home to 60 percent of the world’s largest forest and producer of 20 percent of the Earth’s oxygen, remains threatened by the rapid development of the country.
5. The area is currently populated by over 20 million people and is challenged by deforestation, agriculture, mining, a governmental dam building spree, illegal land speculation including the occupation of forest reserves and indigenous land and other issues.
6. Brazil is now the world’s sixth largest economy and is set to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.
7. A teenager jumps into the water in front of a railroad bridge operated by Vale, a mining company and Brazil’s biggest exporter, in Acailandia. The railroad transports iron ore from the world’s largest mine across the bridge on its way to a port to be exported.
8. A smelter produces pig iron fired by charcoal produced from illegally harvested Amazon rainforest wood, in Acailandia
9. A worker carries a bag of charcoal produced from illegally harvested Amazon rainforest wood up a ladder onto a truck in Rondon do Para
10. A worker’s back is seen while loading charcoal produced from illegally harvested Amazon rainforest wood, in Rondon do Para