After Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil last year the destruction of the Brazilian rain forest became much worse. Bolsonaro could have cared less if the entire rainforest disappeared. He said he saw no value in rain forests, it wasn’t earning anyone any money. And now de-forestation is soaring in Brazil.
Bolsonaro thinks we should clear as much of the forest as possible to make way for new economic expansion. There are still a few old-school career civil servants in Brazil who think forests are valuable for all kinds of important things, like the survival of all life including human life. But unfortunately they are not able to accomplish much on their own, especially in the face of the Corona virus pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic is definitely speeding up deforestation in Brazil.
The reason for this is that the Covid-19 pandemic, which is suddenly ravaging Brazil, has thinned downed the ranks of the protectors of the forests. Illegal loggers, miners and land grabbers have cleared vast areas of the Amazon with no one to stop them. Since police and the few civil servants who think forests need to be preserved are out of action due to the Conavirus, no one is looking out for the rain forest.
Because of the lack of enforcement, this years fire season will be even more devastating than last year’s. When the dry season comes in August and October farmers will burn all the newly cleared land as they always do. And since much more land than usual has been cleared, this will lead to even more out-of-control fires across the Amazon rain forest than usual. These new fires will undoubtable burn vast new tracts of forest.
More and more cleared land is appearing in Brazil every day.
About 464 square miles of forest was cut from January to April of this year. This is a 55% increase over last year. This increased amount of cleared land is about 20 times the size of Manhattan. And even last year there was more deforestation than seen anytime in the previous decade.
In the last month the coronavirus has really taken off in Brazil since no one is doing much to control it. Bolsonaro doesn’t believe in science or epidemiology. And he is not much concerned about the deaths of poor people in his country. He tells them it is all very sad but it is everyone’s fate to die. And there is nothing he can do about the pandemic anyway. He is about as much help as our own president who says the pandemic is over, or maybe it didn’t ever really exist at all, or something like that.
Unfortunately the situation in Brazil can only get worse the longer Bolsonaro is in power. And this looks like it could be awhile. But, on the other hand, because of the pandemic, a lot of things are suddenly changing very rapidly and with a little luck maybe both Trump and Bolsonaro may be gone sooner than we think.
Post summary: De-Forestation is Soaring in Brazil.
More reading on this subject
This post is the short version of a longer article in the New York Times.
Here are a few images to remind us that the natural world is still intact in a few places. At least for now.
De-Forestation is Soaring in Brazil faster than ever before. This is really bad news for the whole world.