The Amazon rainforest is known worldwide as the largest forest in the world and has one of the largest rivers in the world. I had the privilege of being born in a city that is bordered by the Amazon River and which belongs to the Amazon territory, and to this day I have uncles who work there and have daily contact with the forest.
This place is so rich that some resources can only be found there (such as rare plants capable of containing medicinal properties that have not yet been discovered by modern science). There we can also find some of the oldest and tallest trees in the world.
According to some researchers, this forest occupies about 6% of the terrestrial surface with an area of 5 500 000 km² being even larger than the European Union.
It is estimated to house about 50% of life on the earth’s surface.
For Brazil, the Amazon acts as an anti-hurricane shield, climate regulator, and even a “national shower” due to evapotranspiration that releases a huge amount of water into the atmosphere and provides rain for the entire country.
Although many facts are known to all, still today, there are some myths that persist among the population. For example, some people think that The Amazon is the lung of the world, but that’s not true, because all the oxygen it produces during the day is consumed at night in a slightly larger amount. The real lungs of the world are phytoplankton that produce almost 70% of all oxygen released into the atmosphere and oceans.
Recently we have seen several internet posts, television reports and people commenting on the disastrous fire that has happened! This has also led to a number of questions about the attitude of the government, and the people regarding the protection of this precious forest. Because over the years there has been a growing increase in deforestation and contamination of this forest.
If this does not stop, the people will suffer from a decrease in the amount of rain that will damage agriculture and agroindustry, which are two essential pillars of the Brazilian economy. And it will affect the whole world because Brazil has been able to feed over 1 billion people worldwide thanks to its strong agriculture.
In addition to economic and food problems, Brazil may suffer from more catastrophes such as hurricanes and tornadoes and the loss of rare plants and animals, some of which could be of great use to humanity in the future.
Who’s the villain?
The most widely used and heard argument is that the villain is the government of Jair Messias Bolsonaro, which has been negligent in environmental matters. But the hole is more profound.
It is true that the current president of Brazil has been skeptical about the fragility of the Amazon, and this should be criticized. But according to data from EMBRAPA (and confirmed by NASA), Brazil is the country that most preserves and protects forests, rivers and springs, mainly in rural properties.
The same institute says that «preserved native vegetation occupies 61% of the area of Brazil» a huge number compared to Europe, for example, which has only 0.3%.
Even with such powerful agribusiness, only 9% of the national territory is used for agriculture.
At the level of laws, we can say that one of the most restrictive laws in the country is the Amazon soil law.
On the other hand, we have a number of politicians in the European Union who have seen through the last elections, that environmentalist discourse is a good strategy for capturing a truly sensitized people and increasing their popularity in the face of growing opposition.
Making the Bolsonaro government a forest killer is an extremely beneficial speech for European governments because:
1-Do not want to lose their popularity in the face of the political problems they have faced,
2-They see Brazilian agribusiness as a threat to European agribusiness, ignoring the fact that the expansion of Brazilian agribusiness is beneficial to the European population (this is a theme for another post),
3-They want to position themselves as vigilante heroes against a government considered fascist.
Maybe you wonder, “but what about the Amazon Fund, where Germany and Norway made big investments for forest preservation?”
Let’s explain in parts:
There are two documentaries made by Rede Record that show how is exploiting the Amazon resources, and the lives of many people who live there. The first deals very well with the issue of deforestation, and is called “Carvoaria – A Amazônia em Chamas“. The second is called “Piaçaba – Exploração no coração da Amazônia“; both documentaries are award winners and both demonstrate a reality that is not known to everyone, much less abroad.
In both documentaries, we can see people due to their conditions are led to work illegally, exploiting the resources of the Amazon and especially in the first case, causing deforestation. In other words, as much as the government expends resources trying to preserve nature, if the conditions of the populations of that region are not taken care of, we will not be able to nip evil in the bud and this is something the “Amazon Fund” has not done.
Secondly, one of the controversies that made most people doubtful about the “Amazon Fund” has been the many controversies that have arisen over this issue, such as the fact that Norway, which is the largest donor, is a mining company. Called “Norsk Hydro”, responsible for toxic leakage in the Amazon River and fines for R$ 17 million, not to mention another 2000 cases of environmental crimes.
There is also a great question from the population about the efficiency and performance of the Amazon Fund. Because according to the minister of the environment «there were indications of irregularities in contracts with NGOs, and many of these would have been done without bidding and with excessive expenses,» and «there are no indicators that show that the fund contributes to reducing deforestation in the Amazon.»
On the other hand, people know that the amazon soil is very rich, so the big question that Brazilian people is asking is “Why do countries that kill whales, and shut up when partner miners intoxicate rivers and do not invest so much in their own environment, are so concerned about a forest that does not directly affect them? Especially after the president and the environment minister intend to investigate dubious NGOs (many of them funded by these countries)?”
The national and international media is another pseudo-hero who has been more concerned with defending political inclinations and following the tendency to attack right-wing presidents, than by showing facts and informing the population and by using hidden data or disseminating information refuted by science.
We can see this in constant statements like “the Amazon is the lung of the world”, “the number of fires in 2019 is 80% higher than in 2018” but they don’t show that it’s just 7% higher than the average over the last 10 years ago.
They also do not show that it was during the Lula PT government (2003-2008) that Brazil had the highest incidence of burning, nor that at that time neither Lula nor Marina was accused of putting the Amazon at risk.
They make us understand that the city of S. Paulo went dark due to the burning in the Amazon, when several research institutes explain that the fires in the Amazon have a minimal or no influence on this phenomenon.
• Attacking the figure of the president will not put out the fires in the Amazon, and it makes you a mass of maneuver in the media and political parties that have not proven real concern for nature;
• We must learn to question all information, otherwise we will be just a group of religious fanatics whose priests are on TV, some news portals and biased social media pages;
• Be careful about the NGOs you contribute to! Study about it, see if it is reliable and whether they are accountable for the money they receive or are involved in scandals and / or have political leanings rather than real concern with the nature;
• The war that surrounds the Amazon is not only limited to the president’s position, but also to national and international political attacks where each one seeks only his political and financial interest. This involves the media and militancy of various opinion makers.