The Amazon is being burned. And I know some of us in the States are thinking, well good, Jeff Bezos needs to be taken down a peg or 12! Jeff Bezos has had a controlled burn on worker rights and wages for a while now! But it’s not that Amazon, it’s the rainforest. You know the rainforest with unending secrets of biodiversity and connections to nature and provides the globe with about 20% of it’s oxygen! Yeah, that’s being burned. There’s a few that are saying that this is natural, but not at this alarming rate. Let’s not normalize mass rainforest burns that have increased by 84% in one year. If one of our testicles grew by 84% in one year, I don’t think we’d be celebrating the one big ball you have! We’d be panicking and freaking out and probably trying a bunch of weird creams from Etsy’s shaman section to get it back to normal!
This burning is being done by farmers, loggers and ranchers as part of the annual burning day! Emboldened by the current President’s words of expansion and privatization, they are burning about 3 football fields worth of the Amazon a minute! And if this was even one ACTUAL football field, America would go nuts! If the Pittsburgh Steeler’s field was on fire, there’d be fans dressed in black and gold with buckets of water and stale Yuegling dousing the field in a matter of minutes! But since this is just the Planet’s lungs and we can see the smoke in space, we’re just over-exaggerating the situation and need to chill the fuck out guys…
So if it’s not natural, who’s the culprit? Part of the blame falls on the dictatorial and fascist leadership of Brazil, spearheaded by Jair Bolsanaro. Bolsanaro looks like if Mr. Rogers fused with Emperor Palpatine. And nobody wants to be his neighbor because he’ll like have you murdered for looking at him a little too flamboyantly or with an indigenous stare. Bolsanaro is part of a long line of far right leadership that have advocated for the expansion of Brazil into the Amazon rainforest. This has caused friction with not only natives that live there, but also nature. Nature is super pissed at us and is probably cooking up a plan for revenge while we cook ourselves alive.
Since the 30s the logging industry has mowed their way westward into the Amazon and it got particularly bad in the 80s. Using chainsaws to cut down small trees and then bulldoze the rest. This level of deforestation caused an increase of fires that spread across a vast portion of the Amazon. And in the wake grass seeds were sowed and now there are pastures that are sold ranchers. The indigenous of these lands went from about a million at the top of the century to 200,000 in population by the 80s. And basically it went from a tapestry of plant life down to just one plant; grass. Which makes grass the white supremacist of the plant kingdom. Dammit grass! You allied yourself with colonialism to kill the diversity you were once a part of.
The sentiment from the indigenous is that lighter skinned Brazilian leadership look down on the natives because they don’t believe in agribusiness and a monetary system to rule their society. And there have been protest and acts of civil disobedience from the natives that have ended in bloodshed. And with Bolsanaro, a military commander who looks fondly on the coup of 1964, things are only going to get more aggressive. He has militarized the Ministry of Environment with officers of the San Paolo Military Police. Which means the Amazon is going to be the newest victim of police brutality. The expansive burning is the rainforest’s “I can’t breathe” and the logging industry is Officer Pantaleo’s illegal choke hold.
And the ranchers themselves face major restrictions and regulations on what they can and can’t do with the land. They are at the mercy of Bolsanaro and his militaristic environmentalism.
So why is logging bad? People like logs! They help fire! Log cabins! If it weren’t for log cabins a thing then Lincoln would have never come up with the Emancipation Proclamation and ended slavery! And then where would we be? Ok, so there is a very good reason that logging at the rate that it is being done is detrimental to the Amazon and it’s connected to the natural way rainforests work.
During photosynthesis, trees and plants release water vapor. The more vapor that is release, the more water they pull up from the ground. Evergreen and pine trees, like the ones we see in the States, release less water and more conservative about it. This is also probably explains why Americans are overall more conservative and individualistic. Even our plants can’t think about the rest of the world. BUT in a rainforest, the plants and trees absorb and release more water, which means they create a lot more rain. Hence the term RAINforest.
The climate around the rainforest can be warm, but this process actually cools off the ground. So during the dry seasons, though there are forest fires, they are usually not ever expanding and nature manages it all by itself. Since there’s more logging that means less tress to can absorb the water and release into the air, thus the cooling of the forest floor doesn’t occur and the dry seasons get longer and more brutal. I guess Bolsanaro wants the forest’s climate to be just like the political climate he’s creating. Brutal, smokey, intolerable and on fire!
This is kinda basic elementary school knowledge logging companies and fossil fuel companies are ignoring. Which means large corporations that have partnered with large political leaders have less intellect than a 3rd grader or an 8 year old. And if you have a certain age to be a president or member of congress most people against the idea of man-made climate change should be ousted from office and forced to repeat kindergarten.
The logging and deforestation industry has been going on for a while in Brazil and more of the activity has been illegal! Bolsanaro was funded by these companies and is now protecting his donors by flipping the blame for these fires to non-profits that are fighting for indigenous rights! He went so for as firing the head Brazilian Space program that pointed out the excessive deforestation and how it’s affecting the Amazon. Bolsanaro claimed he was lying and trying to besmirch the name of Brazil.
Bolsanaro called this scientist a conspiracist that was trying to make the government look bad. True, this scientist was TRYING to make the government look bad, but Bolsanaro is straight up succeeding. You can’t pretend like your government is actively wrecking the planet with it’s non-environment, pro-indigenous murder platform and say it’s not bad! That’s like if you were in the corner of the room masturbating vehemently and someone called you out on masturbating in the room, and your response is “You’re just one of man-hating, anti-penis, feminist! You need men to make more babies! What a buzzkill!?” Regardless of whether they are feminist or anti-penis, doesn’t change the fact that you are in fact jackin it hard in the corner of the room.
And it’s not just logging, it’s also gold and diamond mining that are polluting and cutting down the forest. Which begs the question, are we still mining gold?! Are these just big prospectors that are wrecking the Amazon with their overalls?
This is part of Bolsanoro’s plan to full privatize the country and letting the free market control where the country goes. Apparently the free market want us all dead because willingly burning the Amazon will spectacularly fuck up the planet’s climate and eco-diversity! BUT even the left wing, Worker Party leaders that were ousted by an internal coup, Lula and Dilma had plans to industrialize Brazil through a variety of private contracts and the economic neoliberal structure. They wanted to clear the Amazon for big business development projects and building a dam! Because that’s what the Amazon was really missing! A development project that involved an arcade bar and hipster coffee shops, instead of trees that were absorbing a quarter of the world’s CO2!
The fires got so high that smoke from these fires reach San Paolo, a few hundred kilometers away. And most recently they’re approaching Bolivia’s borders as well. And as a way to escape criticism Bolsanaro sent out fighter jets with water to douse the Amazon. He’s also planning to release troops into the Amazon to apparently fight fire with a fire fight!
So what can we do to help the situation? Honestly, I’m not sure. There are some calling for a trade boycott with Brazil especially when it comes to lumber, beef, soy and mineral goods. I’m not not sure if that’s a good idea or not. But there is some decent logic behind why it could work. Bolsanaro and his cohorts don’t care about environmentalism, they care about profits and control. So if we hit them in their pockets or even the pockets of their working class, support might turn. But the question remains whether the people of Brazil need to suffer a swift kick in the economic ass to show that a literal fire has been lit under their said ass? Maybe.
Glenn Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda has proposed a simple idea. Since these rich industrialized countries in the Americas and Europe need the Amazon for their profits, they should support and help the poor Brazilian communities in the Amazon rather than destroy it. The Amazon is their asset and if it is going to continue to be, then it’s people and its environment need to be protected. Perhaps the answer lies within this and other plans of action to preserve and regrow the rainforest. This is not just about the indigenous of the Amazon states in Brazil. It’s about all of us. We live in a global ecosystem. And if we burn through our lungs then what’s left for us to breathe with. The Iron Lung of Neo-Liberalism and Colonization won’t help us for long. We need to work with these natural systems rather think we can out do it!