Despite being the custodian of the world's largest forest, the Amazon, Brazil gets low marks for its environmental activities. The countrie appears in 40th place in eco-friendliness, behind the US, Britain, Argentina and Uruguay, according to a list just published by Readers' Digest.
Appearing in 9th place, Uruguay is South America most environmentally friendly country. Uruguay and Australia are the only two nations from the Southern Hemisphere to rank among the world's top ten greenest and most livable, according to the American magazine.
Australia ranks in position eight in the 141 nation world ranking that has Finland in first place followed by Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Australia, Uruguay and Denmark.
United States, Britain and Argentina appear in the positions 23, 25 and 27.
The Readers' Digest ranking is a combination of the United Nations Human Development Index and the 2005 Sustainable Development Index jointly produced by the US universities of Yale and Columbia and the World Economic Forum.
The two indexes monitor the evolution of indicators influencing environmental sustainability in the development of the different countries.
Some of them refer to such things as the quality of the air, water and soil which have a direct impact on the quality of life. The others show whether a country acts in a civic manner regarding the growing threats to the environment.
Top-ranked Finland wins high marks for air and water quality, a low incidence of infant disease, and how well it protects citizens from water pollution and natural disasters
Uruguay is also the only non European country to figure among the "greenest" top ten ranking far ahead from other members of the region: Argentina, 27; Brazil, 40; Chile, 43; Paraguay, 44; Peru, 52, Colombia 53; Mexico, 63; Venezuela 68 and Bolivia 75.
Other countries of interest are China, 84; Portugal in position 18; New Zealand, 19 and Spain ranks 29. End of the 141 country list are Chad and Ethiopia.