Fires are devouring the Amazon. And Jair Bolsonaro is to blame
By David Miranda
As the world watches in horror and terror as the Amazon burns, scientists have made clear that the cause, principally if not entirely, is human activity.
Here in Brazil, that human activity has human names and faces: those of Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president, and his extremist environment minister, Ricardo Salles. They have not merely permitted these devastating fires, but have encouraged and fueled them.
They have done so with a toxic brew of radical ideology, political corruption and banal greed. Put simply, the ongoing destruction of the Amazon is taking place because of policy choices made by those who now rule Brazil.
The magnitude of these fires, and the severity of the dangers they pose to the world, have been widely demonstrated over the last week. As the New York Times reported on Wednesday, the National Institute for Space Research documented that it “had detected 39,194 fires this year in the world’s largest rain forest, a 77% increase from the same period in 2018”.
The raging fires have become so potent that the smoke they generate plunged the western hemisphere’s largest city, São Paulo, into total darkness in the middle of the day on Tuesday. What was particularly shocking about that sudden event was that the Amazonian fires are hundreds of miles away from that city, but have become so dense and overwhelming that they snuffed out light in that distant major metropolis.