By Jazmin Bustamante ’21
Pritzker students speak out about the Amazon rainforest’s fire located in Brazil, which is said to have begun roughly around Aug. 21 based on difficulties accurately pinpointing the blaze due to high numbers of fires overall this year.
Environmental fires are natural occurrences annually dependent on seasonal changes; however, the Amazon rainforest maintains such a damp ecosystem that natural fires are out of the ordinary entirely.
President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, pinpointed the blame for the Amazon’s current state on NGOs as an act of attack on his administration when speaking publicly about the situation.
NGOs are non-governmental organizations which usually actively support humanitarian pursuits. With context of the Amazon rainforest on fire in mind, Bolsonaro was referring to NGOs specializing in climate change.
Junior David Pelayo stated, “There was a lawsuit recently won by an indigenous tribe against large corporate oil companies which, naturally, meant the corporations couldn’t seize any more means of the Amazon rainforest.”
Pelayo further explained, “Now, seeing as how the sudden fire in the Amazon started roughly a month afterwards that entire court case, it wouldn’t surprise me that Brazil’s heavily right-leaning president would immediately throw the blame onto non-profit organizations whose sole purpose is to help out the earth on a global scale.”
“I obviously don’t have solid proof to confirm my view on the issue overall, but considering how a fire began in one of the dampest rainforests fairly quickly after a tribe won a case in favor of its protection is too suspicious. Clearly, this was more than just a mere ‘accident,’” Pelayo finished.
Bolsonaro weakened Brazil’s environmental agency by firing the head of the country’s Space and Research Institute after claiming data on the notion of a 40% increase in deforestation from the past year was false.
Despite the rainforest in a state of dire need for assistance, the Brazilian president refused offered financial aid from countries due to his grudge against French president Emmanuel Macron.
As senior Giselle Pacheco stated, “To essentially reject $22 million being given by global powers over a personal feud speaks volumes in Bolsonaro as a president overall, honestly.”
Pacheco continued, “The Amazon rainforest is a large tool behind supplying humans with oxygen to breathe- it produces 20% of it. I believe the Brazilian government has an obligation to cease any potential damage. This fire is not only negatively impacting the atmosphere, but it directly impacts indigenous tribes that rely on the rainforest itself. These people have actively lived in it for their entire lives and to reject the basic decency of preserving whatever environmental stability is left is inhumane.”