The Amazon Rape

Image by Pixundfertig

Recently one of the most influential magazines in the world, the British The Economist, published a report entitled “Deathwatch for the Amazon”, portraying the accelerated deforestation process that is happening in Brazil.

The text published in the English magazine comments that “Brazil has the power to save the largest forest on Earth — or destroy it”, and that Jair Bolsonaro is largely responsible for accelerating the deforestation process. The Economist also claims that after the president took office in January, the trees are disappearing to a record level, and that 80% of the wood extracted from the Amazon is illegal.

It was cover of the magazine.

Image: Reproduction / The Economist

This publication was preceded by other articles in journals of international relevance, pointing out that the Amazon rainforest is very close to the tipping point at which it could no longer return. The New York Times published a story commenting on the increase in deforestation in the Amazon region, pointing to the movements of the far-right president, reducing efforts to combat illegal logging, drastically increasing the number of pesticides and going against regulations. combating climate change.

The whole world is closely observing the Amazon, government movements and what is happening in Brazil. In the last 15 years the Amazon rainforest has suffered three major droughts, and fires are growing steadily. Bolsonaro dismisses the data on deforestation and still says that what happens in the Brazilian Amazon is Brazil’s business, stressing “the Amazon is ours”. He says rich countries have cut their own forests for development. Although this is true (in parts), Brazil should not copy the errors of these countries, but learn from them.

Art by Sidão

Deforestation is not a necessary price for development, an example of this is that soy and beef production increased between 2004 and 2012, when forest clearing decreased by 80% over the same period. In addition to the forest itself, Brazilian agriculture is also a victim of deforestation. The major drought in Mato Grosso in 2015 caused maize farmers to lose one third of their crop. Logging accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but only attracts 3% of aid to combat climate change.

Inpe case

The National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) released data on deforestation in the northern region of Brazil, recording a considerable increase in deforestation over the same period last year. In July there was an increase of 278% compared to 2018. In June had a deforestation alert 90% higher than the same month the previous year, and the same rate grows 34% compared to May this year and the past .

These numbers are measured by the tool Deter — Detection of Deforestation in Real Time — which has the function of signaling areas of devastation in the forest to the environmental inspection agencies, that is, it is a surveillance instrument.

This calculation is published annually in the Prodes (Amazon Deforestation Calculation Program), which measures the extent of annual deforestation through satellites.

Image by

The data caused a discomfort in the government that reverberated internationally.

Understand the case:

On July 3, Inpe releases data on Amazon deforestation.

On July 19 the president questions the data released by the institute, and says he suspects that the agency is “at the service of some NGO” and that “if it were all this devastation, the Amazon would have been extinct”.

The next day, the president of Inpe — Ricardo Galvãoresponds to the accusations, reaffirming the truth of the information. Galvão also said that he respected President Bolsonaro as an elected representative, but criticized his behavior. He declared “this is a joke of a 14-year-old boy that is not up to a President of the Republic to make.

Director of the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) Ricardo Galvão — Photo: TV Vanguarda / Reproduction

Inpe issued a note saying that its transparency policy allows full access to data and that its methodology is recognized worldwide with an accuracy of 95%.

After this episode, international publications on deforestation begin, such as those mentioned above, further infuriating the Brazilian government, which again criticizes the institute’s disclosures.

Ricardo Galvão’s refutations, added to his statements about Jair Bolsonaro, cost him the position of president of Inpe, being informed of his resignation on August 2 of this year by the minister of science and technology, Marcos Pontes, after meeting in Brasilia.

But look …

The funny thing is that throughout this episode, the environment minister, Ricardo Salles, only defended the policies of the current government and challenged the data presented by the institute.

Let’s meet this citizen?

Sinister Salles

Ricardo de Aquino Salles is the current Minister of the Environment, and before that he was private secretary of the Governor of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, from 2013 to 2014, and Secretary of the Environment of São Paulo from 2016 to 2017.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Environment Minister Ricardo Salles / Image by

The minister has some controversies in his actions in the public power, one of them being the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Public Prosecutor of São Paulo on charges of illegally altering the Várzea do Tietê River Environmental Protection Area (EPA) Management Plan. the intention to benefit private interests.

From December 2018 to January 2019, several lawsuits were filed against the current minister for administrative misconduct, leading to his conviction for environmental fraud. However, that was not enough to block his appointment to the current government’s Ministry of Environment.

The minister was also harshly criticized for reducing the importance of the main Brazilian environmentalist, Chico Mendes, and for diminishing the enforcement action of the main Brazilian environmental agencies, Ibama and ICMBio.

In May of this year, a popular movement gathered 285,000 signatures demanding their departure from the ministry, and in the same month, all of the still-living former environment ministers gathered to publish a suprapartisan manifesto accusing the current government of actively promoting and deliberately a systematic program of cancellation of all environmental achievements of recent decades, including the dismantling of the two largest Brazilian environmental entities (Ibama and ICMBio).

There is an Instagram profile repudiating Minister Ricardo Salles, Sinistro Salles, who constantly publishes data on deforestation and government anti-environmental practices.

Sinistro Salles Instagram Profile

Jair Bolsonaro’s inauguration as president can already be considered the most disastrous in the history of Brazilian environmental policy. The movement against environmental preservation policies is clear, favoring economic development at all costs.

André Trigueiro, journalist of TV Globo and commentator of Rádio CBN, has summarized 15 topics that reveal the contempt, neglect, omission and irresponsibility of the government, in accordance with article 225 of the Brazilian Constitution, which imposes on the public power. and to the community the duty to defend and preserve the environment. Topics range from the review of Conservation Units to the disappearance of the Amazon Fund.

Where will we stop?

According to the newspaper O Globo, “protesters from the Extinction Rebellion group threw red paint at the Brazilian embassy in London in an act against damage to the Amazon rainforest and what they described as violence against indigenous peoples in the region.”

The newspaper also points out that acts such as those of the current Brazilian government can cause possible damage to the economy and diplomacy of the country.

Demonstration at the Brazilian embassy in London / Image: Peter Nicholls / Reuters

While other countries increasingly adhere to the movements of environmental preservation and reforestation, Brazil goes against the grain. In Europe the green parties in the European Parliament have grown considerably. Due to the Brazilian government’s attitude towards deforestation, there are countries opposed to a trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur, as a form of retaliation for Bolsonaro’s environmental policies.

It is clearly one of the greatest acts of misrepresentation in the Amazon, a true Amazonian rape. An incessant exploitation of natural resources, covered by government actions and speeches, which makes enforcement laws more lenient, observing only from the economic point of view.

It is noteworthy that the triple bottom line tripod establishes three basic elements to be sustainable: the environmental, the economic and the social. Economic development cannot be considered without taking into account the environmental impact generated.

As an example to follow, Sweden and Finland were the first countries where forest conservation laws came into force in 1886 and 1903 respectively. These laws stipulate that deforested areas must be reforested. Sweden’s forest cover now accounts for 69% of Sweden’s land, and conversion of the forest to other uses is only permitted under exceptional circumstances.

Swedish Forest / Image by Grizzlybear-se

In Japan there has been a steady growth in the number of forests since World War II. Green areas have grown 4x since the 1960s and today occupy more than 69% of Japanese territory. Half of the forest area in Japanese territory is privately owned, with 98% of individuals. Still, the Japanese Forest Code does not allow conversion of forests except in exceptional circumstances. In addition, greenland owners may receive tax breaks and incentives in exchange for “good practice” in managing their land, for limited land use and for planting trees.

We have good practices to follow here, but we still need to develop our global maturity by growing as a nation and understanding that we are part of a large ecosystem.

As long as the government believes that Brazil needs to defend itself against the actions of other countries in the Amazon, we will only row against the tide. We (Brazilians) play a key role in sustainable development, and we must take this position of inspiring leadership in this process, not the other way around, as has been happening with current Brazilian environmental policies.

What is the price of deforestation?

The first step is to become aware.

Read, study, seek to know!

Only then can we change our reality.

What do you think about this? What did you think of the text?

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Empreendedor e Educador. Surfista e entusiasta. Ambientalista e catalisador.

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Lucas Fontes

Lucas Fontes

Empreendedor e Educador. Surfista e entusiasta. Ambientalista e catalisador.

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