The Background: The Fridays For the Future (FFF) movement which has contributed to green party victories in the European Parliament (EP) elections several months back, demonstrated in front of Brazilian embassies in different countries demanding President Jair Bolsonaro to take measures against wildfires unleashed at the Amazon region.
“Tomorrow we’ll strike for the people in Amazon! We’ll strike for our planet lungs. We’ll once again strike for our future.#SOSAmazonia,” the FFM had tweeted on Thursday.
In a public statement, the organization stated that what is happening in the Amazon basin “is not a local problem” but rather a “problem that has global repercussions.” Accordingly, the FFM asked politicians around the world “to take action and denounce the destruction of an essential ecosystem.”
The FFM has emphasized that “the terrible environmental policy of the Brazilian Government, which sees the Amazon as a money bag” had direct consequences on the rainforests. The number of fires increased markedly since the far-right President came to power in January 1, 2019.
Pressenza International Press Agency has said that Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) counted 72,843 intermittent forest fires between January and August, due to the Brazilian president’s “development policy” for agriculture and mining. Bolsonaro argued that “it’s fire season” and joked: “They used to call me Captain Motosierra and now I’m Nerón burning the Amazon.
At least 68 protected reserves were affected by the flames. The director of Inpe was fired by Bolsonaro under the accusation of promoting a “terrible” image of Brazil abroad and with “false” data.
More than 10,000 hectares have been devastated by a major forest fire in northern Brazil, an ecocide against the world’s largest plant lung, such as our Amazon rainforests. They are provoked by farmers who burn illegally to free land and develop their businesses, protected by the lack of state control and the policies of Bolsonaro in favour of the landowners.
The Amazon is home to the world’s largest tropical forest and is considered vital to counter global warming. The fire spreads through the states of Acre, Rondônia, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, reaching the triple border between Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.
With the world’s largest river and a source of natural wealth where countless species of animals and plants coexist, the Amazon is home to 34 million people, with more than 350 indigenous groups.
The Amazon jungle suffered the deforestation of 2,254 square kilometers in July, nearly four times the same month in 2018, in Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay. Bolsonaro, who celebrated the departure of U.S. President Donald Trump from the Paris climate agreement and refused to host the United Nations Climate Conference (COP 25), pretends to be oblivious to the problem.
Since taking office, Bolsonaro made it clear that environmental protection was not going to be a priority for his management, but rather livestock and agribusiness. The proposal to merge two opposing ministries, Agriculture and Environment, was rejected by environmental organisations.
While so many new generations in different places are trying with all their strength to generate awareness, through the initiative Fridays For Future, which has already arrived in Argentina. Inspired by the young Swede Greta Thunberg, the young people meet every Friday in Plaza de Mayo to demand concrete measures against the climate crisis.
In Brazil, local media reported on Thursday that at least 20 big cities had protested on Friday; these protests are expected to be maintained throughout the weekend in other cities.
Over the last year, the Brazilians have frequently taken to the streets to protest against Bolsonaro’s neoliberal policies, among which are the dismantling of the Environmental Ministry and the refusal to maintain legal protections to indigenous territories at the Amazon.
With inputs from Pressenza International Press Agency.