Should We Care if the Lungs of the Earth get Cancer? By James Reed

     This one has really got all the young ones and people who still see some point in living very worried: the Amazon is on fire!

     The Amazon fires have been described as an apocalypse, plunging entire cities into darkness:

“Brazilians were plunged into afternoon darkness after the worst rainforest fires in history ravaged the Amazon Forest. Sao Paulo, the largest city on the American continent, has been covered in vast plumes of smoke from massive forest fires which blocked the sun and turned the sky black from 3pm. Alarmed locals posted photos on social media showing a city that appeared to have plunged into afternoon dusk, comparing it to a coming apocalypse. The Amazon, often referred to as the lung of the Earth, is a vital source of oxygen that’s instrumental to slowing down the pace of global warming. It’s also home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people. The fire is being called a “global emergency”.

Officials with Brazil’s National Institute of Meteorology said the dark skies were based on a combination of factors: cold, humid air, and smoke from massive fires burning in the Amazon rainforest several hundred kilometres away. “The particulate matter, coming from the smoke produced by these large wildfires that are happening in Bolivia, coupled with the cold, humid air that is off the coast of São Paulo, caused the darkness,” Franco Vilela, a meteorologist at Inmet, told Globo. Environmental activists say the scene was at least partially caused by the often deliberate burning of South American forests to make way..”

     For development, beautiful development of course.

     Whoaha! There is everything going here. Destruction of biodiversity for farming, and then runaway global warming. My, if we believed in global warming we would be alarmed right now, but we are not. No sir. And more is coming because super-capitalist Bolsonaro is ripping ahead with heaps of development projects, so forget about this romantic nonsense of the lungs of the earth. Who needs lungs when there is economic development anyway?

“Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact. The Bolsonaro government has as one of its priorities to strategically occupy the Amazon region to prevent the implementation of multilateral conservation projects for the rainforest, specifically the so-called “Triple A” project. "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," one of slides read. In February, ministers Gustavo Bebianno (Secretary-General of the Presidency), Ricardo Salles (Environment) and Damares Alves (Women, Family and Human Rights) traveled to Tiriós (Pará) to speak with local leaders about the construction of a bridge over the Amazon River in the city of Óbidos, a hydroelectric plant in Oriximiná, and the expansion of the BR-163 highway to the Suriname border. During the meeting, the ministers used a PowerPoint presentation that detailed the projects announced by the Bolsonaro government for the region. The presentation, which was leaked to democraciaAbierta, argues that a strong government presence in the Amazon region is important to prevent any conservation projects from taking roots. The slides are clear. Before any predatory plan is implemented, the strategy begins with rhetoric. Bolsonaro's hate speech already shows that the plan is working. The Amazon is on fire. It's been burning for weeks and not even those who live in Brazil were fully aware. Thanks to the efforts of local communities with the help of social networks, the reality is finally going viral. The online reaction is far from being sensationalist. This year alone, Brazil had 72,000 fire outbreaks, half of which are in the Amazon. The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) reported that its satellite data showed an 84% increase on the same period in 2018.”

     Ok, the Amazon supplies about 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen, but that is too bad; people will just need to breath 20 per cent less! It is the price we pay for the joys of modern economic growth. You can’t have oxygen and growth too! As far as I am concerned, breathing is over-rated anyway.



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Thursday, 29 October 2020
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