August 24, 2019

Cut down the trees. Kill the wild animals. Burn the bush. Pollute the rivers. Pave over the grass. Raise more beef, pigs and poultry in cages.

That’s the credo of the new right. Hatred of Nature is an integral part of its politics. President Donald Trump is the high priest of such environmental vandalism. In his narrow land-developer mind, Nature is a left-wing liberal conspiracy.

Trump’s Brazilian wannabe, President Jair Bolsonaro, is now doing his mentor one better: he encouraged Brazilian farmers, loggers and miners, all key Bolsonaro constituencies, to accelerate their destruction of the Amazon rain forest, which provides 20% of the Earth’s oxygen.

The farmers, miners and loggers responded to his call by burning the irreplaceable forest, the world’s largest, at a rate over 80% higher than last year. Rarely has the world seen a more horrifying example of humans destroying the small planet on which they live.

Bolsonaro and his fellow Brazilian vandals say they lack the means to stop this incendiary epidemic. Nonsense. The Brazilian president is a former army officer. He must deploy the entire Brazilian Army to protect his nation’s most important resource, the Amazon. Neighboring Bolivia, Columbia and Paraguay should join in. Here is a perfect example for the UN Security Council to take action by declaring the 75,000 man-made fires a threat to all humanity and threaten to sanction Brazil’s exports if its does not take decisive action.

France’s president, Emmanuel Macron put it right at the current G7 meeting at Biarritz, ‘our house is on fire.’ France, Spain and Portugal all have their very serious dry season fires, but they send small armies to combat them. Climate change is playing a major role in sparking the raging fires. Unlike Bolsonaro, the European nations don’t absurdly claim the fires were begun by NGO’s (non-governmental environmental organizations).

Brazil’s army numbers 222,700 men, backed by reserves of 1,980,000. Mobilize them. Bolsonaro has been eager to send special paramilitary militia groups into slums in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Send them to the Amazon, which has three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.

The Amazon’s forests are being burned primarily to create more grazing land for cattle, one of Brazil’s most important exports. Producing meat is not only cruel, it uses up inordinate amounts of land and water. All those who adopt ‘meatless Mondays’ or purchase new plant-based burgers are directly fighting the destruction of the Amazon.

The slow death of the Amazon is an alarm call to us all of the importance of trees to mankind. I’ve been to many nations – such as India and Haiti – where most of their original trees were cut down – and the result has been an environmental disaster for mankind and animals.

We are wanton and prodigal in our over-use of wood. Trees must be protected – as the city of Toronto has so wisely done by fencing off trees in construction zones. I hope that a way will be found to convert plastic waste into building materials.

The wide-scale destruction of the great North American boreal forest is a crime that must end now. Fly over the ‘clear-cut’ zones of tree destruction in Canada and the US to see the full horror of the industrialized massacre of our trees. Brazil is not the only killer of forests.

Recycling all wood is the first step. Banning open-air camp fires is another sensible step. Those who make a living by killing trees and animals must be advised to find other work at a time when labor is short.

Trump and Bolsonaro are modern-day vandals. The gutting of America’s wildlife and environmental laws by the Trump administration is a shameful act of ignorance. But one supposes that our president, who appears to live on burgers and diet Coke, has zero interest in wetlands, trees, birds, animals or rivers.

Even Adolf Hitler was an arch conservationist and vegetarian who hated smokers and loved birds and trees. The Mongols destroyed every city in their bloody path to free up more grazing for their ponies. Bolsonaro and Trump would feel right at home with Genghis Khan and his boys.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2019

This post is in: Brazil

9 Responses to “BURN THE AMAZON!”

  1. I just learned that at the G7 Conference, that Trump refused to sign on for the aid package to Brazil to fight the fires… there are far greater problems with climate change than the Amazon fires.

  2. An interesting article on the fate of animals and possible extinctions from the BBC:

  3. Eric, asmuch as I like to read your blogs, Iam disapointed about your lack of understanding of forests. Because I am very familar withthe forests of New Brunswick and Ontario, I know that all forests mature after about 80 years or so.

    The Amazon has been growing and decaying for thousands of years and as such it must decay as fast as it grows..

    It does not provide us with 20 percent of the Oxygen we breathe. No mature forest does.

    However the use of lumber in long life projects such as houses, barns, railroad ties etc. do allow for the groth of new forests and in those cases do provide oxygen to the atmosphere, but itis less than .001 percent of the oxygen in the atmosphere.

    Selwyn Firth Hons. B.Sc., M.A.Sc. Chemical engineer.

  4. Excellent! But, Eric, you will surely anger Trump’s hard-core supporters with your remarks. Aren’t you sorry that you backed him originally? Trump and his allies are a true menace to both world peace and global environmental protection.

  5. The World Bank data for 2017 has the following information. CO2 is based on per capita, which is the only proper method describing the data. Total CO2 output does not fairly reflect countries that have large populations, such as China and India.
    Some interesting facts:
    The US is listed as the #1 contributor at 16.5 tonnes per person, China is #7 at 7.5 tonnes per person, France is #10 at 4.6 tonnes per person, Brazil is #12 at 2.6 tonnes per person, and India is #13 at 1.7 tonnes per person. There are several Middle East countries with a per capita output that is greater than the US, but the number of people involved is relatively small compared to the US.
    The US, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany, China, the UK, Spain, France, and Sweden all have a greater carbon footprint than does Brazil. I can understand why Canada is near the top. We have a small population, bitter winters, and long travel distances between cities.
    It’s strange that Macron would single out Brazil when France’s carbon output is nearly twice that of Brazil. With the rapid deforestation of the Amazon by burning, Brazil is putting the world at risk. The risk is far less than what the US is doing. They have not curtailed the use of fossil fuels and/or coal and they have pulled out of the Paris Accord. They are making no effort to solve the problem and are making the problem worse. The rest of the world is silent.
    China has a serious pollution problem and they have an active program of funding and developing electric automobiles. The US is doing nothing. The enfeebled UN is considering sanctions against Brazil, but, doing nothing against the US; not even a peep. Unless the US seriously reduces its carbon footprint, the rest of the world is at risk and the efforts of all the other countries will not curtail climate change. There are key American politicians that deny the existence of climate change, and Trump has curtailed the actions of agencies that would promote it.
    The problem is not with Brazil, but with the United States.

    • Mike Smith says:

      I addition these countries have already cut away and paved their forests in the interests of economic development… more than a little hypocritical to point fingers at someone else doing what we have already done.

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