The increase in fires in the rainforest has become too much for firefighters to combat, and many have reportedly stopped trying to even contain these outbreaks. It’s important to note that the Amazon rainforest doesn’t have a fire problem of its own creation. Everyone acknowledges that humans are the main source of rainforest fires. The majority of these fires were intentionally ignited, set by farmers clearing their land. The fact that the fires are so bad at this point in the year is also distressing experts, who point out that the drought season begins in August and lasts a few months—which is usually when fires are set.
Bolsonaro’s administration has blamed the increase in fires on “nongovernmental organizations.” Of course, not unlike our current administration, Bolsonaro’s government reduced efforts to regulate and police illegal logging, and Bolsonaro offered up zero evidence of any of his claims. He’s also generally a liar. Bolsonaro, like his American conservative counterparts, seems very interested in blaming government regulations and laws for the fires, suggesting that privatizing the rainforest might be a good way to fix everything. It’s the age-old conservative strategy of choking off government programs and enforcement of existing laws, then saying those laws don’t work and so rich people should be allowed to carve up the public pie and dole out what they see fit.
Robin Chazdon, a professor at Connecticut University who studies rainforest ecology, tells NBC News that the less obvious deleterious effects of these fires will be felt by all of us, not just the people directly under the smoke. Chazdon explains that, unless these areas of rainforest are allowed to grow back, “or be reforested, they will not be able to recover their high potential for carbon storage." And carbon storage is the name of the game when it comes to our planet’s ecological balance—in regards to life as we know it.
World leaders have spoken out on social media, hoping to bring this problem to more people’s attention.
From Canada and France …
… to the U.S.
Environmental and conservationist organizations also have spoken out.
Protests have popped up around Europe.
Meanwhile, artists and others try to do their part to both inform and support the work that needs to be done to save our planet’s forests.
Of course, while this is going on, climate change denier Donald Trump is tweeting out things like this:
His last mention of “Brazil,” is more of a homonym than anything else.
With right-wing groups taking control of various nations around the world, the populist claims they rode in on have given way to the harsh reality of what truly corrupt big business leadership looks like.