The rainforest of Amazonia is known to be one of the world’s most beautiful and significant places. It is located in the territory of Brazil, but its territory is so vast that it extends to the borders of nine other countries. The flora and fauna of this rainforest are so diverse that thousand of species of animals, insects, and fish inhabit it. In the process of analyzing Amazonia, it should be taken into consideration that one-fifth of the planet’s oxygen is produced by its rainforest. Thus, it plays a fundamental role in the preservation of a healthy environment on Earth.
“The Lungs of the Earth”
Until the early 1960s, access to the forests was extremely limited, and they remained virtually untouched. But with the advent of farms in the 60s, the forest began to be cut down in order to make way for cattle breeding, soybean cultivation, mining, hydroelectric dams, and new highways. In the 1970s, the construction of the Trans-Amazon Highway began. It posed a serious threat to the Amazon rainforest. A 2009 study found that a 3°C temperature rise by 2100 will kill 75% of the Amazon rainforest, and a 4°C rise will kill about 85% (Pereira et al., 2020). According to IPNE data, 769.1 km2 of forests were destroyed in June 2018, and the area of the disappearing rainforest was 1.5 football fields per minute. But in the first 15 days of July, more than 1,000 square kilometers of the jungle were cleared, which is 68% more than in the whole of July 2017 (Cotovio, 2019). A study by the University of Leeds found that since 1980, the Amazon has absorbed an estimated 430 million tons of carbon a year – four times as much as the UK emits carbon annually. Nevertheless, today’s rate of deforestation is pushing the world’s largest rainforest ever closer to the point of no return, at which it will no longer be able to recover.
Brazilian Policy Affects the Forest
At the beginning of 2019, Bolsonaro came to power in Brazil and denied the existence of environmental problems in the country, like his American colleague Donald Trump. Bolsonaro supports a liberal economic course and stands in opposition to land reform and secularism. Deforestation during Bolsonaro’s ruling is not surprising- it is the fulfillment of the campaign’s promises: he was the first president in Brazil’s history to make anti-environmental speeches publicly. At the time, Bolsonaro promised that his government would focus on rebuilding the Brazilian economy – in particular, he wanted to consider ways to “explore the economic potential of the Amazon.” According to Bolsonaro, the Amazon forests belong to Brazil, and other countries should not interfere in its affairs, because they have destroyed their own ecology. Growing genetically modified soybeans using numerous pesticides not only permanently pollutes the soil, but also leads to the fact that the local Indian population of Brazil is close to extinction. Such enterprises can be accused of committing environmental crimes, crimes against humanity, and numerous human rights violations. On the other hand, planting trees is known to be the most low-tech, low-term, and effective way to combat climate change, which will only take a trillion pieces. At the same time, it is vital that the “correct” soil is restored. For example, in some parts of Northern Europe, planting more trees can reduce the amount of heat and light reflected by snow and thus, increase global warming. Also, planting trees won’t help fix the climate quickly. It will take from 30 to 40 years to achieve the full effect but the planet does not have this time. A more immediate benefit could come from stopping deforestation, which costs the planet 15 billion trees annually (Dupont 2019).
The President’s attitude
The President of Brazil announced in one of his public speeches that the Amazon belongs to Brazil and that other countries should stop their attempts to interfere in its policy. Such an attitude is considered hostile but the countries should be careful in their safety activities towards Amazonia due to Brazil’s ability to sue in the international court.
In recent months, Brazil has faced pressure to enforce stricter environmental protection in line with the provisions set out in a trade deal reached by the EU and MERCOSUR, a sub-regional trade and economic union that includes Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. There are several steps to be taken in order to reduce negative the impact on the rainforests. For example, half of the packaged food products in the United States-from cereals and candy lipstick, and soap, contain palm oil but the creation of palm oil plantations is the main reason for the destruction of tropical forests. The bulk companies that buy huge amounts of palm oil are well-known brands such as General Mills, Unilever, Nestle, and Cargill. By refusing their products, people will help save the rainforest from destruction.
In conclusion, it is crucial to remember that the Amazon rainforest is one of the Earth’s most valuable ecological recourse, and preserving it is a significant issue that has to be considered. The biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest maintains the ecology and regulates the consumption of carbon dioxide. If the Rainforest loses its environmental health, it will lead to an imminent environmental disaster.
Cotovio, V. (2019). Amazon destruction accelerates 60% to one and a half soccer fields every minute. Cable News Network. Web.
DuPont, S. (2019). Amazon rainforest trees as sentient beings. Amazon Aid. Web.
Pereira, E. J. de Santana Ribeiro, L. C., da Silva Freitas, L. F., & de Barros Pereira, H. B. (2020). Brazilian policy and agribusiness damage the amazon rainforest. Land Use Policy, 92. Web.
Phillips, D. (2019). Bolsonaro declares ‘the Amazon is ours’ and calls deforestation data ‘lies’. The Guardian. Web.