The Man with the Lungs to the World
The amazon rainforest in Brazil continues to burn. In its wake the world has lost trees that are an estimated 1,000 years old, indigenous people have lost their homes, and a vast number of wildlife species have been lost. Almost a year in office, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has shown minimum effort in protecting what has rightfully so been deemed the lungs of the world. Speculation shows that Bolsonaro has supported industries proven to be detrimental to the rainforest such as logging, ranching, and mining. Leaders across the globe offered a collected $22 million in aidfor the Amazon rainforest which Bolsonaro’s administration aggressively refused to take but later accepted some aid from Britain.
Bolsonaro is far from a conservationist, announcing the destruction of a present day coastal wildlife reserve in brazil for what he has envisioned and named the “Brazilian Cancun”. Many have questioned his treatment of environmental policies and Bolsonaro has continuously lashed out at reporters and disregarded the consequences of his treatment of the Brazilian environment.
The amazon serves as a habitat for a diverse array of plants and wildlife which is currently being destroyed. Among the toll of these raging fires is the loss of indigenous land. The indigenous peoples who resided in the Amazon are being forced out by the ongoing fire and Bolsonaro is no ally to them. Records show that as a federal lawmaker in the 1990s, Bolsonaro was foundpraising the ruthlessly violent ways of North American colonizerswho forced Native Americans off their lands during the expansion of the United States. Bolsonaro has also been found criticizing the rights of indigenous peopleand being an advocate for their forced assimilation to Brazilian society.
The lungs of the world are burning and the man responsible for protecting them is putting a disheartening amount of effort into doing so. As the fires continue to rage the question now is the extent of the damage and what will be done to recover the Amazon? If this is even a possibility.
Written by Anamaria Flores, Class of 2021