By: E. Wichmann
287%. That is how much the rate of deforestation in the Amazon increased in relation to last year. States such as Acre saw rates of forest fires raise 300%. This has generated immense controversy throughout the whole world with people arguing that Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is being extremely reckless towards the environment and others arguing that Brazilian Sovereignty should be respected above all else.
Bolsonaro’s environmental policies have been controversial even before his election. The current president promised the junction of the ministries of Agriculture and the environment in order to cut government spending. The former congressman from Rio de Janeiro stated that people who truly worried environment should defecate once every two days. Furthermore, the President stated that only people who are vegans truly care about the environment. This demonstrates how it may be argued that the president is, to a certain extent, dismissive of issues regarding the environment.
On the other hand, it must also be considered how this issue is also of Brazilian Sovereignty (the ability of the state to govern itself) because of how, by other nations intervening with Brazil, the European nations are disregarding Brazilian rules and want to control Brazil. Bolsonaro in his latest speech to the United Nations General Assembly stated that some countries still view Brazil as a colony, with no rules or sovereignty and that this vision should end.
Furthermore, amongst all of the protest for the Amazon there was also a huge spread of so-called ‘fake news’. Celebrities and politicians sharing photographs that were old or not even of the amazon and information and statistics that were simply false. The French president Emmanuel Macron posted a photograph in his Instagram and twitter that were actually a photographer that died in 2003. Additionally, some people are arguing that the month of august is particularly dry and that it has led to abnormal rates of fire in the Amazon
This increase in deforestation in the Amazon has become a Global issue and has been brought to the attention of French President Emmanuel Macron. He has openly stated how the situation is an emergency and vowed not to sign the EU-Mercosur agreement if the Brazilian president does not improve his environmental policies. Nations such as Germany and Norway, in disapproval for the situation in the Amazon removed about R$ 300 million from the Amazonian Fund.
Overall, it is clear that the situation in the Amazon is clearly one of the pressing, if not the most, pressing issue that must be dealt with. A solution must be reached by putting away political views and biases and on focusing on improving our nation.