You may not have heard about it on national news but the Amazon rainforest is on fire. And that poses a huge problem for all of us.
Its not that unusual for big forest fires to break out this time of the year, especially in the Amazon, but this is no ordinary situation.
The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) in Brazil said they are seeing an 84% increase in the number of fires over last year, according to the BBC, which have now been raging for three weeks.
Conservationists also say that Brazil’s new far-right President Jair Bolsonaro — the “Trump of the Tropics” — has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land.
Bolsonaro dismissed any such concerns Tuesday, blaming farmers who burn the land during this season of the “queimada” (burning):
“I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame. But it is the season of the queimada,”
But scientists say the Amazonian rainforest has suffered more since he took office in January.
a reminder that the amazon forest has been on fire for 3 weeks now and because of the lack of media coverage people don’t know about it. this is one of most important ecosystems on earth pic.twitter.com/bJWtsShOky
— Shafeeq (@Y2SHAF) August 20, 2019
The President of Brazil is an admirer of Donald Trump and recently leaked documents show his government has major deforestation plans for the Amazon.
When asked recently how he would help fight the climate crisis, he said: “You talk about environmental pollution. It’s enough to poop every other day. That will be better for the whole world”.
Yes you heard that right. His big idea was to avoid pooping every day.
Map below shows extension of fires currently happening in the state of Rondônia in Brazil (which is under a thick smoke and where people have been dying), and in Bolivia, both in the Amazon region. Fires are intentional, started by farmers to open up land. https://t.co/1TDPRP04JW
— Dani (@danimadu) August 19, 2019
The state of Amazonas in the northwest declared a state of emergency two weeks ago and has been unable to stop the spread of the fires.
They are so thick the smoke has drifted south and covered entire cities, including Sau Paulo.
This is the sky of the biggest city in the country of Brazil, São Paulo at 2-3 P.M.
The smoke of the burning Amazon Rainforest has covered it entirely.
OUR PLANET IS DETERIORATING BEFORE OUR EYES AS A RESULT OF CLIMATE CHANGE!
THIS IS FRIGHTENING! pic.twitter.com/Xygb4NeikW
— StanceGrounded (@_SJPeace_) August 20, 2019
But there’s barely been any coverage of the forest fires, and their impact on the planet, at news organizations.
This is only the latest such disaster.
The massive forests of Siberia have also been on fire for months, again covering large cities across Russia. The fires have been the worst on record and even forced the Russian government to draft the army to help put them out.
Global temperatures in June and July this year have been the hottest ever on record, which have dried out forests and made them more prone to fires.