Under the current global political climate, it often feels like people just want to watch the world burn. But the metaphor has become too true to life as political unrest is fueling the biggest Amazon rain forest fire we’ve ever seen.
For the last two weeks, a giant fire has been burning through the Amazon rain forest. This is destroying centuries of environmental growth at an alarming rate. And people are angry. Not because it’s happening, but because of why.
A majority of the blame falls on Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro. Having taken office last January, Bolsonaro has previously described the forest as an inconvenience and a hindrance to economic growth, repeatedly expressing interest in opening the land for development. He’s taken little to no action to suppress the fire, implying that this is what he wanted.
It’s commonly accepted that the fires were man-made, started by farmers and ranchers that share Bolsonaro’s ideology and want to clear the land. Bolsonaro claims that the fire was started in revenge by non-government organizations that lost funding by his administration. Little evidence has been presented to this claim, however.
The issue spread internationally when other countries, like Germany, France, and Norway, spoke up, criticizing Bolsonaro’s behavior and stating plans to cut conservation funding from Brazil. Bolsonaro responded to these criticisms and that of the media, claiming that they are all just an effort to undermine him and that the fire isn’t causing deforestation “at the rate and level that they say.”
We can prep as hard as we want, but when the people in power destroy the entire planet, we won’t have anywhere left to bug out to. This is why both voting and making environmental efforts are important if we want to survive long term.