Fires ravage the Amazon

Catherine Christy

The Amazon forest has been experiencing a mass increase of fires in 2019. Fires in the Amazon have gone up by 84% since January, while more than 70,000 fires have been detected. The amount of destruction is expected to continue to grow, as 62% of Brazil’s  forest fires traditionally take place in September. 

These fires have garnered obvious attention from politicians and especially from the G7. At the most recent summit in France, G7 leaders have offered $20 million in aid to Brazil and neighboring countries. Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have acknowledged the fires as a global crisis and a mass contributor to climate change. Macron has been actively involved with Sebastián Piñera, Chile’s president, in working towards long term protection of the forest. 

The indigenous people of Brazil have also been adamantly speaking out against the government’s approach to the fires. President Jair Bolsonaro has been known to lack support for indigenous people, as his campaign for presidency called for setting aside less land for tribes in order to promote more business growth in the Amazon.

Since the summit, Bolsonaro has said Brazil won’t take the money and that Macron has a “colonial mindset” for attempting to aid. Many Brazilians are outraged, as Bolsonaro has a history of supporting the farmers who’ve been known to start fires in order to clear more land for farming. 

The “slash-and-burn” method of deforestation is very popular among farmers who are clearing for more land or trying to enrich the soil in the area. Brazil is the world’s largest beef producer, according to the U.S. department of agriculture, and farmers have support from the government as they enhance the national economy. 

With political figures, celebrities, and everyday people raising money and awareness for the fires, it’s unknown what’s next for the Amazon. But as of today, the Amazon continues to burn.