Times are changing. Self-publishing is no longer 'vanity publishing' - a vaguely embarrassing exercise in assuaging one's writerly ambitions by paying large sums of money for a small run of leather-bound copies of a book - but a very real and increasingly credible alternative to mainstream publishing.
Admit it: football pitches all look the same, whether you're at Anfield or in the Amazon. And we've seen that backdrop of Copacabana Beach behind Gary Lineker umpteen times now. But while the World Cup might be giving us a blinkered view of Brazil, a well-planned family holiday to this huge country will open your eyes to an extraordinary range of natural wonders...
My writing straddles too many genres to be categorised. So I turned Indie. However, when my self-published, first novel made it to the Amazon bestseller list, I realised I had a niche: a group of readers around the world who liked what I wrote. They wanted to know what it meant to come of age in a complex environment like India.
It's a case of first world problems at their finest. Individually, paying the extra amount for an item that is locally crafted and sold as oppose to opting for the cheaper, mass-produced variety makes little difference but changes are wrought when carried out collectively; local businesses thrive and that personal sense of locality and camaraderie can live on alongside our virtual communities.
There was a reason Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, chose to announce his support for an initiative to forgo exploiting the Tiputini, Tambococha and Ishpingo oil fields under the Yasuni National Park - home to indigenous peoples and one of the most biodiverse places on earth - on 5 June 2007: 5 June, today, is the United Nations' 'World Environment Day.'
Deforestation rates peaked in 2004 and fell steadily for almost ten years. But the loggers didn't go away. They just got smarter. Despite the government's interventions, most of the logging in the Brazilian Amazon was still illegal. The loggers learned how to game the systems put in place to keep illegal timber out of the market. They found crooked sawmills to launder their illegal timber, and exporters that didn't care where their products they sold came from... The scale of illegal logging in the Amazon is astounding. In the state of Pará, almost 80% of logging is believed to be illegal.