Brazil authorized Federal Troops to Fight Amazon Fires

In a televised address Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro said that above-average temperatures and dry weather have led to the fires in Amazon states, adding that he had authorized use of federal troops and equipment to fight the fires.

Bolsonaro said that the government is aware of Amazon fires and is taking actions to try to contain them. More than 20% of the world’s Oxygen is produced by the Amazon Rain forest.

As news reaches around the world that the Amazon rain forest is burning at an unprecedented rate, people are beginning to ask questions about who is responsible.

In the past weeks, since August 15, over 9,500 new forest fires were reported in Brazil, most of them spread across the Amazon basin.

According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, over 74,000 forest fires were started in Brazil this year, which is nearly double the 40,000 fires that were recorded in 2018.

This represents an 83% increase in wildfires when compared to the same time last year, making it the most fires recorded in a single year.

Brazil’s pro-business President Jair Bolsonaro has been blamed for emboldening farmers and loggers in Amazonia to set fires to the forest, the planet’s carbon dump, to clear the land for exploitation.

Among his disputable decisions was the sacking of Ricardo Galvao, the head of INPE, earlier this month, who accused Bolsonaro’s government of increasing the pace of deforestation in the Amazon region.

Even before this ominous development, things were looking pretty bleak for the Amazon.

Experts and activists have suggested a variety of reasons for the recent burning, but the government is allowing the rain forest to be ravaged by farmers and corporations for their own personal gain.

The newly elected president Jair Bolsonaro campaigned on a misguided platform of stimulating economic growth by opening up the Amazon to industry.

Since coming into office, his administration has significantly scaled back environmental protections, essentially giving a green light to loggers, miners, and ranchers to violently expel native tribes from their lands and destroy the local ecosystem.

Amazon Watch is not alone. Amnesty International secretary-general Kumi Naidoo also made a statement blaming the current condition of the Amazon on the controversial president.

They must change their disastrous policy of opening up the rain forest for destruction, which is what has paved the way for this current crisis.

One of the tactics listed was framing the Amazon crisis as a wedge issue to divide liberals and conservatives.

If the destruction of the Amazon can be reduced to a simple “political opinion,” the legitimate concerns from activists and experts can be easily dismissed as nothing more than a dissenting political opinion.

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