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The Amazon burns. We need a global and local response

Will international pressure finally bring firebrand Bolsonaro under control?

Brazil’s recently elected president, Jair Bolsonaro, is nothing if not consistent. LGBTQ people, trades unions, people of colour, women generally – he treats them all with utter contempt and disdain.

It should come as no surprise to anyone with a functioning cerebral cortex, then, that any environmental considerations are way down his list of priorities unless, of course, his mates stand to turn a quick buck.

And lo, it came to pass that, as possibly the worst ever conflagration to hit the Amazon gathers pace, even French president Macron’s concerns have been brushed aside. “Our house is burning,” tweeted Macron, who also called for emergency talks on the subject at this week’s G7 summit.

The Bolsonaro government retorted that it is everyone else’s fault and told anyone who would listen that it has “legitimate ambitions to bring prosperity to its people”. This, for the avoidance of doubt, was not announcement that they would be embarking on a long-overdue drive to address Brazil’s endemic corruption, meagre growth, crumbling currency and stubbornly high unemployment.

No, this was an an attempt to shrug off any worries that deliberate deforestation might in some way be linked to the growing Amazonian disaster.

Land is being illegally cleared for livestock, crops and investment property in the state of Amazonas and across the country, sparking international alarm about the destruction of a vast and essential carbon sink.

Bolsonaro, possibly channelling his inner-Trump, has even suggested that NGOs have been deliberately setting fires so as to make his government look bad. No, really.

No easy solutions

The way out of this crisis is unclear; there is no silver bullet. Even once these Amazon blazes have been finally brought under control, there is little to dissuade states from going climate-rogue.

However, consumers in high-worth markets, such as across Europe, can simply refuse to buy produce that has been farmed at the expense of forestry and carbon sinks such as the Amazon which is now losing north of 2,000 square kilometres a month to deforestation, according to the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research.

That’s an area more than two-and-a-half times the size of Berlin. Razed. Done. Destroyed. Let that sink in for a moment.

Join us in calling for an immediate boycott of Brazilian agricultural produce, suspended for fifteen days. Government has that time in which to inform their counterparts in Brasília that an acceptable and preventative roadmap out of this disaster must be presented.

Putting our money where our mouth is

The Rainforest Alliance is in desperate need of cash in order to try to make a difference on the ground in the Amazon Basin and elsewhere in the world. It’s an uphill battle and involves fighting some dark and powerful forces, as well as the blazes, themselves.

That is why we are donating 10% of all net sales this weekend, including from our Summer Get-together, to The Rainforest Alliance. This little party is happening at our place on 24th August, from 10:00 to 16:30. You’re very welcome to join us and you’ll find directions here.

 

Learn more about the The Rainforest Alliance here.

 

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