The Amazon rain forest, the world’s largest rain forest which contributes about 20% of the earth’s oxygen has been burning for over 2 weeks, resulting in a major loss of trees and biodiversity.
The impact of the Amazon rain forest fires can already be seen in different regions in South America including the Atlantic Coast in places such as Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. At around 3:00 pm on Monday, a dark smoky cover seemed to envelop the city and rain poured down that smelled like smoke. Sao Paulo is located about thousands of kilometers away from the burning fire.
Brazilian environmental officials said that they sent a warning to the government saying that farmers and land grabbers were planning a day of coordinated fires on 10 August. But the president Jair Bolsonaro failed to act.
The two day G7 summit in Biarritz came to an end with member nations responding to a pressing global environmental calamity – the blazing Amazon forests in Brazil.
A climate Emergency
The G7 countries launched a 20 million dollar aid package to help the amazon countries fight the wildfires. Recognising the need to address the issue, The French and Chilean Presidents initiated an assistance plan which includes the programme of reforestation of the forests. The plan, however, needs approval from Jair Bolsonaro whose stand on the matter is unclear. He went on to accuse Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, of treating Brazil as a colony or a no man’s land when he critiqued the situation in Brazil. Although Trump was not present for for the G7 session on climate change, biodiversity and the oceans, he extended support for the initiative.
– Não podemos aceitar que um presidente, Macron, dispare ataques descabidos e gratuitos à Amazônia, nem que disfarce suas intenções atrás da ideia de uma "aliança" dos países do G-7 para "salvar" a Amazônia, como se fôssemos uma colônia ou uma terra de ninguém.
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) August 26, 2019
France and Ireland have threatened to block a EU Trade deal with Brazil and 3 other Latin American countries if Bolsonaro does not act on the crisis with immediacy. Leaders across the political spectrum and allies of Bolsonaro are also uniting over the matter. The Chilean President, Sebastian Pinera, is in constant touch with the Brazilian president and is positive about convincing him for restoration programmes.
The situation is alarming. The scientists have recorded more than 74, 000 fires in the Amazon for the year 2019 which is approximately double of the 2018 number. The raging fires have widespread effects on other parts of Brazil as smoke spreads to the states of Para and Mato Grosso, blotting the Sun in Sao Paulo. The blazes have created a layer of smoke estimated to be 1.2 million square kilometers wide.
Reducing environmental protection is leading to accelerated deforestation in Brazil. The disregard for social movements and NGOs by the Brazilian President has also come into limelight through statements issues by the Raoni Indigenous community of Brazil as their head participated in climate change protests along with young people in Brussels.