The game between Portugal and the United States made World Cup history last night: they called a water break. Several comments have been made about the heat and humidity players and spectators face when they go to one of the four games that are being hosted in the Arena Amazonia, but what else would you expect from a stadium in the middle of the rain forest? Arena Amazonia is in Manaus, Brazil, which is located within the Amazon rainforest and can only be reached by boat or plane.

Photo by Gabriel Smith

The city will be hosting four matches and thousands of tourists during the course of the World Cup. In preparation for the games their stadium, Estadio Vivaldao, was reconstructed and revamped into the Arena Amazonia. The construction used over 95% of the material from the demolition and stands as a symbol of what will hopefully be a new approach to ecotourism for the area.

The new stadium was built to be sustainable and to fit in with the surrounding environment. Abundant precipitation from the rain forest will be collected to be used in toilets and solar panels will generate clean, renewable energy. Several measures were taken to protect against the intense heat the city experiences, with white reflective panels covering the roof and plant screens surrounding the stadium walls to help insulate and keep energy costs down. The stadium will not only be sustainable in the way that it is run but in its use. Once the World Cup matches are over the structure will continue to be used for concerts and events.

Structures like these that draw large crowds into delicate areas can be very controversial, but have the potential to do wonders for the local people and environment. Tourists can come for the games and stay for the river boat rides, local festivals, fresh fish from right out of the Amazon River, and a beautiful 117 year old opera house. Hopefully these events and this new structure will continue to draw people into Manaus and give them the chance to discover the beauty and culture the Amazon rainforest has to offer.