Celebs Demand Climate Change Action as Amazon Fires Rage
“If the Amazon goes, we the humans will go.” Celebrities like Ariana Grande, Leonardo DiCaprio and Camila Cabello are calling for climate change action as the world’s largest rainforest burns at a record rate.
The National Institute of Space Research recorded an 84% increase in fires in Brazil between 2018 and 2019, most in the Amazon rainforest. It was the highest level in seven years of record keeping. Bolsonaro said Wednesday without offering evidence that NGOs could be setting the blazes to discredit him.
The president has come under intense pressure to contain the fires raging through the world’s largest rainforest, many set by loggers incentivized by his government. One catalyst: the apocalyptic darkness that gripped the megalopolis of Sao Paulo on Monday afternoon, unnerving locals and triggering a fierce scientific debate over its cause. Some researchers blamed the gloom on a cold front coupled with smoke from Amazon blazes over 1,000 miles away. The hashtag #PrayforAmazonia has dominated social media in Brazil over the past few days.
For those living in the Amazon, the smoke is intense. Moises Fernandes, an agronomist and consultant in the state of Rondonia said that it’s been several days since he’s been able to see the river that lies just 450m away from his apartment.
The fires are not in the interests of large-scale landowners who own cattle that need to graze, and are mainly caused by smallholders in the region to recover their fields. “The small-scale producer is the one burning,” he said. “He burns because he doesn’t have access to technology, means of production, technical assistance so he winds up doing that.”
Fernandes says that oversight has decreased over recent years but the problem is not new, and not limited to this government.
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