Photo Credit: Nate Johnston
The Amazon Rainforest Faces Its Worst Moment Ever Due To Climate Change
The Amazon Rainforest is facing its worst moment ever. According to WWF-Brazil, the deforestation process is accelerating and threatening its biome, the Indigenous people who live there and the world— because of climate change.
The Amazon rainforest is the most biodiverse region on earth, providing shelter to three million species of plants and animals. Billions of trees absorb tons of carbon dioxide every year and slow down the climate change along with producing 20% of earth’s oxygen, hence its nickname ‘Lungs of Earth.’
Brazil Institute for Space Research (Inpe) estimates that between May 1 and 28, 4,556 square miles were devastated. This represents the highest number in 10 years. Now, the world’s largest biome has an additional concern.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is working to pass a bill to ease environmental licenses in order to please soybean and cattle farmers as well as mining companies in the region. For WWF, this bill can contribute to increasing deforestation on a larger scale.
“The figures show an extremely critical situation, in a moment in which deforestation is encouraged by the rhetorical speech of the federal government and the total weakening of environmental inspection,” Mauricio Voivodic, executive director at WWF-Brazil told Travel Noire.
The increase in deforestation in the Amazon is directly related to the environmental dismantling promoted by the Bolsonaro government.
“In the last two years, when the government clearly sided with criminals who occupy and deforest illegally, the destruction of the forest reached record numbers. Large-scale wildfires are the result of criminal action, associated with illegal deforestation and land grabbing,” explains Voivodic.
This situation is not only enraging environment activists. Brazilian Indigenous people are also crying out against the bill. On June 23rd, hundreds of Indigenous people gathered outside Brazil’s Congress in Brasília to push for rejection of the bill. Dressed in traditional clothes and carrying bows, they marched to Congress, where they sang and danced.
“The bill attacks lands already approved and demarcated and opens space for illegal mining and deforestation if it’s approved,” Kretã Kaingang, an Indigenous leader from Brazil’s southern region, told AP. “It attacks all of our rights.”
The country’s Supreme Court in the past has ruled against efforts to open Indigenous territories to business interests, ruling the reserves are off limits to commercial development.
The WWF spokesperson also warns that the Amazon rainforest situation can get even worse due to this year’s drought. For him, it will lead to the extremely high rates of deforestation, forming a very favorable scenario for large wildfires.