In the Hot Seat: Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest Still in Flames


“Cerimônia de inauguração da Usina Fotovoltaica Flutuante” by Palácio do Planalto, used under CC BY 2.0 / Text Added to Original

The hot topic of taking immediate federal action against the fires of the Amazon rainforest has shifted from a question of “should we” to “how could we” as days pass by without an answer from President Bolsonaro (pictured above).

Thomas Collins, Reporting Journalist

South of the equator, the Amazon rainforest is still ablaze. While fires are a regular occurence in the tropics, the woodland experienced a spike in fire occurrences this summer. This is due to a variety of factors: deforestation, climate change, and new policies implemented by Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro.

Lack of rain has been the main cause of wildfires in the Amazon for decades; however, the number of fires increased by 80 percent this summer, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. Many climatologists say the sudden increase is due to more relaxed regulations regarding deforestation introduced by Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro ran for Brazilian presidency in 2018 during the country’s worst recession ever. In an attempt to mend the economy and increase business, Bolsonaro has waived Amazonian protections. Many logging companies and farmers now burn their lands to more efficiently clear them. While less regulation has made it easier for logging companies and farmers to clear land, the negatives do in fact outweigh the positives. Bolsonaro’s continued support for the exploitation of the Amazon could lead to the downfall of the world’s most diverse ecosystem.

Not only are Bolsonaro’s economical ideologies affecting the rainforest, his foreign policies are, too. Just last month, Bolsonaro denied over $20 million in aid from G7 countries due to an ongoing feud with French President Emmanuel Macron. The feud originated over comments from Macron regarding Bolsonaro’s mismanagement of the wildfires, quickly devolving into comments from Bolsonaro mocking Macron’s wife on Facebook

This level of negligence could cost Brazil dearly in the long term, and the effects that continued fires would have on climate change are immeasurable. Apart from prayers on social media, not much aid is able to be provided to those fighting the fires. Overall, the future of the tropical rainforest looks bleak if immediate action is not taken.