The Amazon Rainforest is the treasure trove of flora and fauna. He is our double bottom in the fight for the climate. To protect him from further destruction, action must be taken quickly. But President Jair Bolsonaro does not think so. The reason: a Brazilian doctrine
The Amazon rainforest in Brazil, the most important forest area of our planet, is in flames. In large part. The cloud of smoke is already as big as Europe and moves through South America. For three weeks, this treasure trove of biodiversity is burning. Ninety percent of the flora and fauna live in tropical rainforests. The images of the burning trees are sad, and you do not even see the creatures that flee from the hell of fire or die in it, the clearings, waterfalls and streams that disappear in the blazing red. What happens when the Amazon rainforest is gone?
As if that were not tragic enough, with the Amazon region we are also losing the net and the double bottom of our world climate, the green lung of the earth. The one hope that we can still turn things around. At least six percent of our oxygen is produced by this seemingly infinite forest, which is obviously finite. More importantly, it stores as much CO2 as humanity releases in a decade.
If he disappears, all further attempts to save the climate are in vain. Out, over. Then it’s time to pack up, bury yourself in the ground, protect yourself from the climate, and from there live like moles as earth folk. Congratulations.
Why is the Amazon burning?
But why suddenly burn more than seventy thousand fires in the Amazon, which have already penetrated to Bolivia and Paraguay? This is partly due to the hot and long dry period in the basin of the Amazon. Another reason that leaves one stunned: Arson. They are Brazilians who set the fires. Landowners, speculators and farmers are stretching their land illegally. This is often tolerated by local authorities. Ranchers even committed a “day of fire”, laying fires together. They want work. They only get that if there are no annoying branches in the way.
Now the topic arrives slowly, with criminal delay, in Europe. Suddenly the alarm bells are ringing, suddenly the press reports. The politicians also express themselves. French President Emmanuel Macron was carried away to a wake-up call. He wrote: “Our house is on fire”. This is “an international crisis”. Then he proposed to discuss first measures with the G7 at their meeting in Biarritz, France, as a first item on the agenda. It must be acted, so the consensus, decided and determined. Otherwise, the roof of our house will fall on our heads. The attic is already glowing. It is carpentered from tropical wood.
But this would require the support of Brazil and its government. But the one who decides what to do, President Jair Bolsonaro, does not even think about it. Bolsonaro, who until recently ignored the fires, has a deep aversion to environmental protection, considers it a waste of money, something “vegans who only eat greens”. The climate change? Keeps his government for a Marxist conspiracy. He recently suggested that environmentalists have set the fires themselves to avenge their canceled money. He does not show interest in saving his own garden.
“We will exploit the Amazon!”
On the contrary, he wants to sell him to the agribusiness, to sacrifice to the Brazilian economy. Many would not admit this openly because it reveals an attitude in which you as a reasonable person shake your head. Not so Bolsonaro. He peddles with his environmentally hostile attitude, propagates it, represents it with full conviction, as well as his inhuman, violent or homophobic views. In that sense, he is consistent. Recently, he said something that sounded like a threat to the rest of the world: they would exploit the Amazon.
As a rule, he explains his opinion in the following way: “At the moment our economy runs almost exclusively through the agricultural business. But that is inhibited, stifled by these environmental issues. “In one thing he is right: The agricultural economy is probably the most important pillar of the Brazilian economy. Millions of beef, soybeans or corn are shipped to the world. Politics depends on the agribusiness: farmers and landowners make up the largest parliamentary group. “We are your government,” Bolsonaro recently promised the country bosses at a rally.
Brazil was once a prime example of environmental and climate protection. When Bolsonaro was elected, it was already clear that the Amazon rainforest would have a lot of problems from now on. Ever since he ruled, deforestation rates have multiplied. He deposed the environmental authority, incited against NGOs, the indigenous peoples, whose home is the rainforest, put together their reserves together. Or he supported gold diggers, who dig hundreds of thousands in the deep forests for glittering stones, contaminating the Amazon with mercury because humans pay huge sums of paper money. He relativized that they penetrate into actually protected areas, drive out the natives, even murder their chiefs.
The rebelliousness of Brazil lies in its history
Now the international community is trying to intervene. An approach that the Brazilians, instigated by Bolsonaro, are allergic to. Your view of things goes like this: The Amazon rainforest is ours, only us. We can do what we want with it. And you take away neither him nor his mineral resources. If we open up or clear it economically, that is our business, ours alone!
Therein lies a rebellious, nationalistic urge. “We can not accept that the rest of the world teaches us about the Amazon,” said General Augusto Heleno Peirera, Government Security Advisor. Bolsonaro has cultivated this thinking, this line, over the past few months, in which he has been criticized for the deforestation anyway, and put it in the minds of many Brazilians. The paradox is that the rainforest had never really interested the Brazilians.
He did not invent this line. It is rooted in the colonial past of Brazil and in the sixties. Since then, above all, the military, which has high political power in Brazil, depends on the paranoid doctrine that the world wants to take away Brazil’s resource-rich Amazon rainforest. Therefore, it must be economically developed and populated. Bolsonaro’s cabinet has old generals who believe deeply in it. He himself is close to the military and glosses over the time in which it forced Brazil into a dictatorship.
Convince who does not want to be convinced
So how does one bring Bolsonaro’s brains to reason? The President will not abandon his line, and most of the proposals will be vilified in the style described above. For example, Macron’s move called Bolsonaro a “colonial mentality,” because Brazil is not at the weekend’s G7 summit in France, where it’s time to figure out what to do about the forest fires. So you talk again and not with Brazil, want to determine about it. And the Brazilians have their hair on their backs. Although he said that Brazil is ready to talk, as long as you talk to the country and not about the country. However, the potential results are questionable.
Bolsonaro does not even mind that the Amazon rainforest is on fire. He wants it that way. Currently, official government documents leaked in Brazil show that Bolsonaro and his government are intentionally destroying the Amazon. One means: hate speech to indigenous peoples and minorities, and economic development. So Bolsonaro has a very precise agenda.
With climate moralism or environmental romanticism you will not be able to convince the Brazilian president. He sits up his own phantasms. The only language that Bolsonaro, a guy much like Trump, will understand is the language of money. Only at this point can you meet him.
The solution is called Mercosur
Not necessarily with economic sanctions, to which Bolsonaro could react again defiantly. Rather, as Ireland has done, the government openly threatened the President not to open the proposed Mercosur Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and a handful of Latin American states (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay), which has been under negotiation for twenty years to sign. Bolsonaro should not act and “fulfill his environmental obligations”. France struck the same score.
Clever. That hits the bullseye. Because Bolsonaro and Brazil want nothing more than to supply the European market with soy, meat and corn. The agreement would give Brazil a big economic boost. There are still two years left until the vote on Mercosur. Until then, Ireland wanted to closely monitor Brazil’s environmental policy.
In fact, the EU should join the Irish demand. Then Bolsonaro might collapse. The problem: in times of trade wars, the EU needs new, lucrative trading partners. But with whom trade, when the earth becomes desolate and empty?
It works only together
Meanwhile Bolsonaro admitted that his country did not have the means to control the fires anyway. The Amazon region is bigger than Europe. There was a lack of resources. One more reason for a joint international intervention to save the green lung of our world. If you make Brazil clear that you do not want to curtail your sovereignty, or want to drain its natural resources, but simply demands the protection of the rainforest, our environment – then maybe there is still hope for our planet. Also for the treasure trove of biodiversity.