And it’s all the NGO’s fault, so says President Jai Bolsonaro

When you’re the president of a large country, the world starts to look like your playground. And who plays on playgrounds? The same immature humans who point fingers when things go up in flames, literally. And in suave political fashion, Brazil’s President, Jai Bolsonaro has pointed his finger and found the culprit of the recent forest fires; non-government organizations (NGO). The very same NGOs who have been advocating for the protection of said environment. So what actually happened?

The Amazon Rainforest is on fire. Major news outlets picked up the breaking news three weeks after the blaze actually started, leaving most of the world oblivious to the catastrophic events. With the hashtags, #PrayForAmazonia, #PrayForAmazonas, and #SaveTheAmazon trending on Twitter over the past few days, global awareness of the incident has skyrocketed.

While many have some beef over the fact that major news outlets severely lacked coverage (i.e. no coverage at all), we’re focusing more on a different beef. Cattle ranching, to be specific. Cattle and agriculture are vital components to Brazil’s growing economy. An economy that President Bolsonaro has promised to keep growing.

Bolsonaro’s political campaign was bolstered around economic growth and removing the environmental red tape limiting the country. He made promises during his campaign to lessen fines against those convicted of infractions against environmental policies and promote better uses of the rainforest. He also suggested dissolving the Environment Ministry, and instead hand over its responsibilities to the Agriculture Ministry. According to the president, the Environment Ministry’s interests were to appease NGO’s and international interests, rather than the governments.

Now tie this to the fact that deforestation was already on the rise in Brazil before Bolsonaros presidency, and you have a recipe for a disaster. The logging, mining, and farming industries now feel encouraged to grow their business, causing record-breaking rates of deforestation. In fact, most of the forest clearing is being done illegally. For example, earlier in August, farmers had a ‘fire day’, where they burned large swaths of forest to clear land for ranching.

It is highly speculated that these forest clearing fires are the cause behind the large fires burning uncontrollably throughout the Rainforest. Hopefully, these fires are put out soon, but the question remains. How long will the fires be out for?

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