As fires in the Amazon rainforest continue to burn, more and more reports from the area continue to emerge.
Footage from the forest has been shared on social media of an indigenous Pataxó woman, filmed delivering a passionate and emotional speech in front of the burning forest, criticising Brazil’s authorities and those responsible for allowing the devastation to carry on.
Many locals say the forest fires are being started deliberately, as a way of clearing space to make room for more farms and cattle ranches. This is said to be a deliberate move by Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsanaro in order to boost the country’s economy.
You can watch it here:
In the video, the Pataxó woman says:
For two years we’ve fought to preserve [our reservation] and these assholes came in and burned it down.
They are killing our rivers, our sources of life, and now they have set our reserve on fire. Tomorrow we are closing the roads and I want all the media here to see this.
Since the fires have garnered worldwide attention, President Jair Bolsonaro is said to be deploying military troops for ‘unprecedented’ operations to try and extinguish the fires. Although he spent Friday night at a comedy club while a pre-recorded speech aired to the nation, according to The Guardian.
According to Brazil’s defence minster, Fernando Azevedo, 44,000 troops will be made available for the operation, heading to four Brazilian states which have asked for federal help to try and contain the fires, MailOnline reports.
View this post on Instagram
#Regram #RG @IamNickRose: Terrifying to think that the Amazon is the largest rain forest on the planet, creating 20% of the earth’s oxygen, basically the lungs of the world, has been on fire and burning for the last 16 days running, with literally NO media coverage whatsoever! Why?
Azevedo said the military’s first operation will be to deploy 700 troops to the area around Port Velho, the capital of Rondonia. They will reportedly be using two C-130 Hercules aircraft, which are capable of dumping 12,000 litres (3,170 gallons) of water on the fire at a time.
Agreeing to deploy the military, who will ‘act strongly’ to control the fires, President Bolsonaro said, via ITV News:
The protection of the forest is our duty.
We are aware of that and will act to combat deforestation and criminal activities that put people at risk in the Amazon.
We are a government of zero tolerance for crime, and in the environmental field it will not be different.
View this post on Instagram
The lungs of the Earth are in flames. 🔥 The Brazilian Amazon—home to 1 million Indigenous people and 3 million species—has been burning for more than two weeks straight. There have been 72,000 fires in the Brazilian Amazon since the beginning of this year—a staggering 84% increase over the same period last year (National Institute for Space Research, Brazil). Scientists and conservationists attribute the accelerating deforestation to President Jair Bolsonaro, who issued an open invitation to loggers and farmers to clear the land after taking office in January. The largest rainforest in the world is a critical piece of the global climate solution. Without the Amazon, we cannot keep the Earth’s warming in check. The Amazon needs more than our prayers. So what can YOU do? ✔ As an emergency response, donate to frontline Amazon groups working to defend the forest. ✔ Consider becoming a regular supporter of the Rainforest Alliance’s community forestry initiatives across the world’s most vulnerable tropical forests, including the Amazon; this approach is by far the most effective defense against deforestation and natural forest fires, but it requires deep, long-term collaboration between the communities and the public and private sectors. Link in bio. ✔ Stay on top of this story and keep sharing posts, tagging news agencies and influencers. ✔ Be a conscious consumer, taking care to support companies committed to responsible supply chains. Eliminate or reduce consumption of beef; cattle ranching is one of the primary drivers of Amazon deforestation. ✔ When election time comes, VOTE for leaders who understand the urgency of our climate crisis and are willing to take bold action—including strong governance and forward-thinking policy. #RainforestAlliance #SaveTheAmazon #PrayForAmazonia #AmazonRainforest #ActOnClimate #ForestsResist #ClimateCrisis 📸: @mohsinkazmitakespictures / Windy.com
However, leaked documents suggest Brazil’s president has been actively encouraging a strong government presence in the Amazon region. Intending to build bridges, motorways, and a hydroelectric plant in the rainforest, the leaked documents suggest the Brazilian government is hoping to ‘fight off international pressure’ to protect the Amazon.
If the fires are not controlled, however, the loss of such a huge area of the rainforest could contribute to a doomsday ‘dieback‘ scenario, according to scientists, whereby the carbon released into the atmosphere will speed up climate change even more.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.