In the past decade ecologist have seen with terror the expansion of a common and accepted activity in Venezuela, truck races in the jungle. For many people out there, this might sound like an awesome sport: fresh air, trucks, mud, beautiful landscapes, exotic animals and adventure. For the Amazonas jungle and the Gran Sabana (the oldest geological formations in the planet) it isn’t fun at all, especially since all the racers got together to organize an annual contest called Fun Race 4×4 sponsored by Toyota (isn’t it ironic?).
In these races contestants must drive their trucks into wild areas of the Gran Sabana, trying not to get stuck in the mud, lakes, rivers or any obstacle the organizers consider “fun” for the pilots. They establish a number of circuits around the sabana, all of them with different types of difficulty, and the first to reach the finish line in each circuit wins a lot of money and cheers from the public.
But… how do you think they build these circuits and their obstacles? Destroying Nature!!! People who organize these races make huge damages to the environment preparing the field for the trucks, the plants and the trees they chop down take decades to grow back. We are talking about the oldest geological formations on earth, there are unique plant and animal species in the Amazonas that lose their home every year over this human “sport.”
Moreover, they destroy the agriculture activities developed in the area, affecting not only the ecosystem, but also the people that live there. Also, the massive amount of people that come to the races produce a lot of waste, and they regularly leave them behind. They also shower in the rivers using chemical soaps and shampoos and their trucks spill oil and gas. The media presents Fun Race 4×4 as a fun, adventurous sport that we should share with family and friends, the race committee even has an “ecological foundation,” but the truth is that the practice should be banned and publicly condemned, since it’s destroying one of our best nature landscapes.
The national assembly recently received a legal resource against this “sport”, which in the recent years expanded to more Venezuelan landscapes such as Los Médanos de Coro dessert and other national declared parks. They are currently investigating the issue and the environment ministry made some statements on the matter, supporting ecologist groups who were alerted to the ecocides.