It is not only Amazon that is burning, there are other forest fires raging too, and the world has been witnessing such devastating blazes too frequently. It is the nature's revenge on us for abusing it for so long and so brutally.
We know the Amazon is burning. We know it gives 20 percent of the world’s oxygen and supports 10 million species.
But in the billowing smokes of Amazon, other devastating forest fires raging right now are getting overshadowed.
For example, Congo is burning and so is Angola.
Weather Source, an American company working on climate technologies, has shown 6,902 fires in Angola on August 22 and 23, 3,395 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Compared to them Brazil is burning with 2,127 fires. Congo is home to the few remaining gorillas and with the fires they might be gone.
It suddenly seems the whole world is catching fire in the style of Dante’s Inferno.
Just months ago, the Paradise was lost in California to devastating fire. The New York Times description of residents fleeing through walls of fire in their cars was nothing short of the hell that Dante described.
According to NASA (North American Space Agency), more than 67,000 fires were reported during a one-week period in June 2018. Most of the fires were started by farmers who resorted to the slash-and-burn agricultural method.
Slash-and-burn farming is a form of shifting agriculture where the natural vegetation is cut down and burned as a method of clearing the land for cultivation. When the plot becomes infertile, the farmer moves to a new fresh plot and does the same thing again. This process is repeated over and over.
At last, the climate change is taking its toll on the mother earth.
Is Bolsonaro calling the shots?
There have been calls upon the far-right Brazilian authorities to step in and take prompt actions to save the Amazon basin which supplies 20 percent of the world’s oxygen.
Meanwhile, leaked documents have revealed that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is trying to destroy the Amazon on purpose because he wants to implement development projects that involve constructing bridges, motorways and a hydroelectric plant in the rainforest.
So, capitalism is at play here and this is the curse of capitalism – profit maximisation by hook or crook even if the process leads to destruction and devastation.
The documents – which were leaked to the UK-based political website openDemocracy – showed that Bolsonaro is in favour of ensuring a strong government presence in the Amazon region in order to thwart forest conservation projects.
One of the PowerPoint slides leaked along with the documents reads:
“Development projects must be implemented on the Amazon basin to integrate it into the rest of the national territory in order to fight off international pressure for the implementation of the so-called ‘Triple A’ project.
To do this, it is necessary to build the Trombetas River hydroelectric plant, the Óbidos bridge over the Amazon River, and the implementation of the BR-163 highway to the border with Suriname.”
The ‘Triple A’ (Andes, Amazon and Atlantic) project is a conservation effort led by the organisation Gaia Amazonas, which aims to conserve 265 million square kilometres of jungle and the Amazon.
The Amazon fire reportedly started after farmers announced a coordinated “day of fire” on August 10. This was the result of the president’s green signal for farmers and illegal loggers to enter indigenous communities.
Canadian political scientist and urban specialist Robert Muggah wrote that the Brazilian president is trying to speed up access to mining concessions by freezing the demarcation of new indigenous lands.
Such a move has far-reaching consequences as the protection of indigenous lands is widely believed to be among the best strategies to conserve forests and avoid loss of biodiversity, he warned.
Then, there is global climate. The mammoth Amazon rainforest, which incorporates 40 percent of the world’s tropical forests, plays an incredibly critical role in the stabilisation of global climate. If the fire continues to tear through, Amazon will not only stop producing the air we breathe but will also aggravate the climate change scenario.
The burning of Amazon could create a series of “feedback loops”, known as a dieback, which worsen climate change, Business Insider reported.
In a "dieback" scenario, rising temperatures could dry trees, meaning they absorb less carbon and become more flammable. This will eventually turn the rainforest into a savannah (a large, flat area of land covered with grass, usually with few trees) and releasing billions of tonnes of stored carbon.
The possible result? A further rise in the global temperature.
We are already facing the disastrous effects of climate change, and the Amazon flames could exacerbate it by a massive degree.
Carnival of Rust is one of the most popular tracks of Finnish band Poets of the Fall. The lyrics says:
“Don't walk away, don't walk away
when the world is burning”
This is what we need to emphatically tell the Brazilian president. Instead of turning his back on the millions of voices who are urging him to ban the burning of Amazon, he should take measures to put an end to the inferno that is sweeping through the “lungs of the Earth”.