The deplorable policies of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and Minister of the Environment Ricardo Salles represent an existential threat to the Amazon and the entire planet.
Under their watch, Brazil has weakened efforts to fight illegal logging, ranching, and mining, causing deforestation to surge. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research shows an 85 percent increase in fires this year from 2018, with a new fire erupting every minute. If the Amazon continues to burn at this rate, these fires could trigger a “dieback” scenario, causing the remaining forest to dry out and burn, exacerbating the global climate crisis
Bolsonaro has said, “The Amazon is ours, not yours.” However, the Amazon is truly the “lungs of the world,” producing 20 percent of the planet’s oxygen. We cannot see the world as isolated countries. One nation’s irresponsible actions carry consequences for everyone. Just as developed countries should foot the bill for the climate crisis, Bolsonaro should face the consequences of his irresponsibility and arrogance.
It is the duty of the rest of the world’s leaders to not only condemn the fires, but those who are responsible for stripping the environmental protections should have stopped or at least diminished the magnitude of these fires. The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is of concern to all of us.
Nations such as Germany and Norway have taken a step in the right direction by freezing millions of dollars in planned assistance to Brazil. But much more can be done. Our countries will be affected by the destruction of the Amazon, and our countries have to take a stand and hold Bolsonaro accountable. It is time to #ActforAmazonas and prevent a doomsday “dieback” scenario from taking place. It is our human right to protect the climate and have a healthy environment.