What is happening with the Amazon?
An article in the newspaper “El País”, written by GALARRAGA GORTÁZAR (2020) expresses the actual situation in Brazil: the Deforestation of the Amazon.
It seems that the Amazon has skyrocketed in the last year to the highest level in the last 12 years. The world’s largest rainforest, key to curbing climate change, lost 11,088 square kilometers of trees, according to the annual balance sheet released Monday by authorities. This 9.5% increase over the previous year highlights the serious effects of the policy of President Jair Bolsonaro to weaken environmental inspections, encourage impunity for land invaders and disregard for indigenous people who want to preserve their lands.
According to what Greenpeace indicated there are 626 million trees felled. It’s as if every minute of the last year the Amazon has lost the equivalent of three soccer fields, to the tune of about 1.58 million stadiums.
As the article shows, the numbers known this Monday are the result of measurements made by satellites by the Institute for Space Research (INPE). It is an annual balance that covers the area of trees destroyed between August 2019 and July 2020.
The Bolsonaro government is perfectly aware that environmental policy is critical in its foreign relations, both with the European Union and will be with the United States when Joe Biden assumes the presidency in January. Ecology carries enormous weight in the process of ratifying the EU-Mercosur trade agreement.
The deployment of thousands of Brazilian soldiers in the most sensitive areas and the creation of the Amazon Council to coordinate all the agencies involved in environmental care and firefighting has not reversed the increase in deforestation that began before Bolsonaro came to power, but has accelerated in these two years.
The destruction of the Amazon in 2004 exceeded 27,000 square kilometers (almost three times as much as now). It was Lula da Silva’s first year as president. Since then, the annual destruction of trees has been decreasing until it reaches 4,570 square kilometers in 2012 (the minimum since there are measurements). And from then on, with Dilma Rousseff in power, the increase started again until reaching the current numbers.
The environmental organization WWF stresses in a statement that the deforestation recorded since Bolsonaro’s government indicates the government’s disconnection from the challenges and opportunities that the Amazon represents.
The INPE has another system, which counts the number of alerts each month and serves to mobilize environmental inspectors or the police, who had already indicated that deforestation was on the rise. Greenpeace criticizes that despite this, “the response of the federal government to the increase in deforestation has been to mask reality, to militarize environmental protection more and more, and to work to stop the actions of civil society, damaging our democracy,” according to a spokeswoman.
Galarraga Gortázar, N. (30 november of 2020). Deforestation in the Amazon soars to a record high in 12 years. El país. Retrieved from: