Brazil’s government prioritizes the economy over the planet

Angela Canales, Entertainment Editor

The outcry for international aid from Brazillian protesters pushed Brazilian president Jaír Bolsonaro to take action against the Amazon forest fires several days after they first erupted. Just recently the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, called on world leaders to help put out the fires in Brazil at the Group of Seven summit.

“Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rainforest – the lungs which produce 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire,” Macron said on Twitter.

The agricultural sector of Brazil’s economy recently rose from 9% to 11% in 2017, aiding in the economic recovery of the country. President Bolsonaro and the government of Brazil advocated and encouraged the excessive exploitation of the Amazon by agro-businesses, mainly the logging and cattle ranching industry. Since the booming agricultural economy benefits Brazil, the actions of President Bolsonaro’s administration give into the bizarre idea that the maintenance of the Amazon rainforest belongs to Brazil and that any foreign intervention in the fires should face denial. 

“The Amazon is ours and we to assert national power there. End of story,” Brazil’s most popular self-taught philosopher Olavo De Caravalho said in Washington on August 28.

With money in mind, Brazil’s government takes advantage of the natural resources sprouting from the Amazon, consequently presenting a danger to its habitats and the state of the planet. A recent consequence of this exploitation became the recent fires, burning down 640 million acres of land and destroying everything in its path. With climate change causing environmental havoc at a fast pace, the Brazilian government should increase regulations in favor of the protection of the rainforest which affects not only animals but also plants that help regulate the climate.

The Amazon lies in the heart of Brazil’s agricultural economy, though at the cost of destroying wildlife habitats and risking the state of the planet’s natural carbon processes. The Amazon rainforest houses at least ten percent of the world’s biodiversity; it also presents a slow but steady fight against climate change, as the forest alone holds around 90 billion tons of carbon in its plants from photosynthesis that, if released into the atmosphere, could equal a decade’s worth of carbon emission rates from around the world. As one of the locations where major deforestation takes place, human activity poses a large threat against the preservation of such valuable lands. 

Bolsonaro’s indifference and disinterest towards the crisis before him led thousands of Brazilians to protest the lenient regulations that Bolsonaro himself put into place towards protecting the Amazon. By protecting the Amazon and enforcing stricter regulations amongst agro-businesses, the world could preserve a land thriving with life and natural processes crucial in the fight against climate change. Putting out the rest of the large-scale fires may become the first step of a long journey for Brazil’s government to step up and think about the long term impact that the Amazon maintains on the planet and all its inhabitants, not just the economy of one country.