By now, everyone is well aware that the Amazon is burning, but what is actually being done?
Well, for starters, let me just say that the Amazon rainforest isn’t burning, it’s being burned. This isn’t the same type of fire we see in Australia. Usually these fires are accidents. But let me just be clear, fire is not a naturally occurring event in the Amazon Rainforest.
These fires are intentional. The new Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro cut back on environmental protections in the region. This has allowed large areas of the rainforest to be burned to make way for crops like soy beans to be grown.
We know that the Amazon is the world’s lung, and basically we’re all fucked if the situation gets much worse. But if we all depend on the rainforest to umm… breathe, why aren’t we doing more to protect it? No, not just when it’s on fire. All the time.
The evapotranspiration that occurs in the Amazon is responsible for rainfall all over the planet. So, if we don’t do something to protect it, we’re going to have a REALLY BAD time.
So what is currently being done?
Approximately 44,000 Brazilian troops are getting ready to enter the Amazon to combat the fires. According to Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo, four Brazilian states have asked for help from the government to fight the blazes.
Roraima, Rondonia, Tocantins and Para are all expecting to receive federal and military aid over the coming days. Two massive water-carrying aircrafts that have the capability to dump 12,000 litres of water will also be used to combat the blaze.
The move comes after extreme backlash towards President Bolsonaro and his views that economic development is more important than the protection of the rainforest.
Meanwhile, Finland have proposed a potential ban of Brazilian beef imports in protest of Bolsonaro’s response to the fires. Finance Minister Mika Lintila proposed that “”the EU and Finland urgently look into the option of banning the import of Brazilian beef.”
This proposal has been backed by French President Emmanuel Macron. Macron is currently spearheading the international pressure on Brazil over the fires.
However, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson disagreed with Macron.
“There are all sorts of people who will take any excuse at all to interfere with trade and to frustrate trade deals and I don’t want to see that,” he said.
Although the international pressure and proposed trade bans don’t put out the fires, they will hopefully encourage the Brazilian government to care more about rainforest protection and prevent further deforestation and fires.
Emergency talks are currently underway at the G7 summit in France, according to The Guardian. World leaders are set to discuss the wildfires and how the nations will work to force Brazil to change its policies on deforestation and the preservation of the Amazon.
Back at home, the Australian Labor Party is putting pressure on Scott Morrison to increase our efforts in the situation.
“The Amazon has often been described as the world’s lungs. Its protection matters to the whole international community,” foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong and climate change spokesman Mark Butler said in a joint statement.
The pair also commented on the fact that failing to prevent these fires or defend against them is a step back in the global climate change efforts, according to 9News.
“We call on the Morrison government to do everything they can to encourage Brazil to respond to this rapidly worsening global disaster.”
Hopefully ScoMo comes back from the G7 with a better mindset on climate change after his poor efforts at the Pacific Islands Forum.
We’re finally starting to see action in the Amazon after a massive three weeks of burning. But further help will still be needed. These fires are largely a result of political and economic choices in the area. If you want to prevent stuff like this from happening, I encourage you to do some research into the companies you’re purchasing from, and the political parties you’re voting for.Image: Joedson Alves