The Amazon Rainforest After New President’s First Year in Office

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Katie Maehler / Katie Mähler

Kimberly Garcia, Contributor

The Amazon Rainforest has finally been allowed a chance to recover after the intense forest fires earlier this year. With Brazil’s rainy season arriving, it will have time to cool down and will allow satellites to fully see the amount of damage done to the rainforest by the fires.

Brazil’s space agency reported that in one year, over 3,700 square miles of the Amazon had been burned; that equates to the size of the country of Lebanon. This is the biggest loss of flora in the Brazilian rainforest in a decade. Despite the fact that the Amazon is the biggest rainforest in the world and considered “the lungs of the Earth,” Brazilian President Bolsonaro has done nothing but propose plans to harm the Amazon.

During his first year in office, he has proposed cutting back on rainforest preservation and opening the rainforest to industry. Deforestation has increased by 30% during this timeframe. Even though efforts were made to fight against illegal lumber work, he has been very vocal on his stance against forest conservation, saying that the country’s environmental policies were “suffocating”; he has gone on record during his campaign that not “a square centimeter” of rainforest land would be left for the Indigenous peoples of Brazil. The rainforest has begun to be chopped down for the agriculture and livestock industries due to his lack of care.

Climate scientists warn that the rainforest may reach a point of no return if nothing is changed. By the height of the country’s dry season in the summer, many feared that illegal logging and ranching were clearing the rainforest.

In 2014, Brazil began to slide into an intense financial recession, leading to the rise of deforestation with ranchers and loggers looking for more land for their respective industries. Agribusiness has always had immense power in Brazil, and its hold on the country has increased; representing about one-fourth of Brazil’s G.D.P., the Amazon region supports farms, mines, and ranches, all industries being protected by Bolsonaro for financial gain.

Information Source: The New York Times

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