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The world could end if Bolsonaro's Fascist regime continues to destroy the Amazon

Towards the end of the year, bad news apart from the COVID-19 pandemic which is still craze comes from the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Base...

Towards the end of the year, bad news apart from the COVID-19 pandemic which is still craze comes from the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Based on satellite data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), the Amazon lost an area of ​​11,088 square kilometres or seven times the size of the city of London due to logging, land clearing and fires during the period August 2019 to July 2020. This figure increased by 9.5% from the previous year and is the highest since the last 12 years. Reported by Reuters, this means Brazil has failed to meet its target of reducing deforestation by approximately 3,900 square kilometres under the 2009 Climate Change Act. There are no regulated consequences for failing to meet the target, but it still leaves the government open to prosecution. The INPE data above summarizes the news of the destruction of the Amazon forest that has frequently appeared since 2019. In August last year, the Amazon forest burned violently. 

The sky is the city of Sao Paulo is blackened. For weeks that followed, the flames were still raging to the point where it was claimed to be the worst in a decade. A year ago, 10,136 hotspots were recorded in the first ten days of August 2020, up 17% from 8,669 hotspots last year in the same period. Air monitoring Guardian for two hours found a giant column of white and grey smoke billowing in the Amazon jungle around the city of Novo Progresso. Illegal gold mining activities are still stretching in the indigenous area of ​​Baú. In contrast, forest areas that have been deforested because they have just burned are seen in the Iriri area. 

Logging and mining in the Amazon jungle continue, even as Brazil has been devastated by Corona since March 2020 and the state of Amazonas is the region with the highest infection rates due to inadequate health care systems. This forest destruction activity is getting more massive due to the imposition of rules on distance and visits restrictions. As a result, when COVID-19 positive cases are increasing in April, deforestation participates climbed by 64% compared to the same month in 2019. Climate scientist Antonio Donato Nobre of INPE said that the damage to the Amazon rainforest was far more severe than what is usually reported in the media. 

These stories generally do not address aspects of forest degradation due to deforestation. Forest degradation occurs when fires, deforestation disrupt other ecosystems in areas that have not been damaged and also reduce the function of rainforests as carbon sinks on the planet. Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world, with a total area of six million square kilometres. Often dubbed the lungs of the world for its ability to absorb carbon dioxide, the Amazon is home to 33 million people and thousands of species of plants and animals. If the Amazon goes extinct, the future of humans as a species is questioned. As much as 60 per cent of the total area of ​​the Amazon belongs to Brazil. In 1970 the area of ​​Amazon forest cover in Brazil was 4.1 million square kilometres.

Deforestation of the Amazon forest this time is not the first event. Reporting from Mongabay, deforestation increased rapidly, especially after the construction of the Trans-Amazonia highway in 1972. This project took place by clearing forests for transportation, agriculture, and settlements along with a number of loan facilities to boost the economy. However, the ambitious Trans-Amazonia project did not go smoothly as the sedimentary structure made the road unstable and flooded when it was hit by heavy rain. As a result, traffic was disrupted, and crop yields deteriorated. Instead of being stopped, this project has become the entrance to Amazon deforestation to this day. Amazon's 'Barber' Who has been most responsible for the chaos in the Amazon jungle in the last two years? Jair Bolsonaro. 

Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has surged since Bolsonaro took office in early 2019. During the campaign, the retired Army captain has explicitly supported clearing land in protected areas. According to Anthony Pereira, director of the Brazil Institute at King's College London, Bolsonaro and his party Partido Social Liberal are targeting electoral support from loggers, miners, small-scale breeders, as well as several giant multinational mining companies and large-scale agricultural businesses. "Most of the governors in the Amazon are members of the party that Bolsonaro is allied within Congress. Most of them like the discourse of deforestation because it can give victory to politicians in their constituent areas, "said Pereira, quoted from The Lancet. Despite Bolsonaro's policy of relaxing Amazon forest protection, many of the fires were sparked not from significant agribusiness activities, but from small farmers. But according to Jeffrey Hoelle, a cultural anthropologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, it's not fair to blame small farmers without touching the big players. 

The life and work patterns of these small farmers who live in poverty are formed because of the structure left by big agribusiness players. Many of them also moved from the slums of southern Brazil. Hoelle suggested the way to break this chain is by not opening the market for products originating from illegal deforestation activities. Even so, the idea seems impossible to implement as long as Bolsonaro is perched at the helm of government. INPE data show that in the fascist leader's first six months in office in early 2019, Amazon deforestation increased by 88%. Bolsonaro considered the data to be inaccurate and instead fired the INPE director for damaging Brazil's reputation. Bolsonaro keeps his campaign promise to undermine environmental institutions by cutting the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) budget by 25%. The fines imposed for illegal deforestation between 1 January and 15 May 2019 have decreased34 per cent from the same period in 2018, the largest percentage decline ever recorded. Confiscation of illegally cut logs during the first four months of 2019 fell more dramatically, with only 40 cubic meters or the equivalent of 10 large trees. IBAMA is required to announce the time and location of all planned raids against illegal loggers.

Bolsonaro responded to criticism from the international community with denial. In August, for example, Bolsonaro furiously denied the wildfires still raging in the Amazon. He accused the data his own government released of being a lie. Last year, Bolsonaro launched a similar response to deny the spike in wildfires that sparked global protests. He also clashed with French President Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders. Bolsonaro's stance adds to a long line of right-wing populist leaders (some of whom do not hide support for 20th-century fascist figures) who dismiss environmental rehabilitation as an urgent agenda. Report from the German Adelphi Institute environmental think-tank at February 2019, for example, found that 18 of Europe's 21 largest right-wing parties were generally indifferent to action in response to climate change or against efforts to improve the environment. Now dozens of financial institutions around the world are demanding that Brazil control a surge in deforestation, which they say has created "widespread uncertainty over the conditions for investing or providing financial services to Brazil". Joe Biden's victory is expected to bring renewed pressure to the Bolsonaro regime. Still, it's worth not putting hope in Joe Biden, given Uncle Sam's decades-long dual policy: supporting liberal democracy at home as well as fostering fascism in the Third World. (tirto)

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