The Amazon continues to burn

This week, the G-7 convened and offered $22 million in firefighting aid to Brazil to help the country combat fires in the Amazon Rainforest. Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, rejected the aid, citing what he believed to be personal attacks by France’s President, Emmanuel Macron. Macron had previously claimed that Bolsonaro lied about Brazil’s efforts to combat climate change.

Bolsonaro expressed anger that the G-7 — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — was attempting to intervene in Brazil and compared the G-7 aid to colonialism. Bolsonaro also ridiculed the age and appearance of Macron’s wife.

Bolsonaro then reversed his stance on the G-7 aid, explaining he would accept the G-7 aid if Macron apologized for his “personal attacks.” Brazil also announced they would accept $12 million in firefighting aid from England and mobilize their military to fight the blaze.

The blaze primarily has been blamed on increased deforestation spurred by Bolsonaro’s repeals of environmental protections.

Bolsonaro believes that developing the Amazon would help spur Brazil’s economy and has promised to not allow “another centimeter” to be put under environmental protections. 

The Amazon rainforest is responsible for processing a large portion of the world’s carbon dioxide output.

The forest is also responsible for six percent of the world’s oxygen output.

Fears regarding the environmental impact of Bolsonaro’s presidency date back to late summer 2018 ,when the former army captain rose through the polls on a platform of minimal environmental regulation by pledging to leave the Paris Agreement, as well as nationalist appeals.

According to Datafolha Polling Institute, 33 percent of respondents said Bolsonaro was doing a “great or good” job.

The rating is tied for the lowest approval rating of a Brazilian president in the past three decades.  

“I think it was just such a big wake up call for the rest of the world to be like ‘Holy (cow) the world is actually going to die’,” first-year exploratory major Courtney Corrado said. “We’ve all joked that we’re going to die but now the Amazon rainforest actually is dying.”

By Charlie Gstalder | Guest Writer

Photo courtesy of NASA