Brazil did something wonderful in 2022 — they got rid of President Bolsonaro, and voted in a new leftist order under Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva. Photo is of his supporters on inauguration day. How will this new leader impact the environment?
As I wrote on a previous website, according to The Week on 6/6/21, parts of the Amazon were emitting more carbon dioxide than they cleaned. The Amazon has been considered the “lungs” of the entire planet, soaking up emissions that otherwise powered climate change.
But in 2021 it pumped out 1.1 billion tons of carbon per year, mostly from the deliberately set forest fires meant to clear land for beef and soy production. This reduces overall rainfall, which increases the risk of fires. One researcher, Luciana Gatti, from whom the report came, noted: “We need a global agreement to save the Amazon.”
Unfortunately, the only global agreement could come out of the U.N. The Independent Media Institute noted the number of fires there. They wrote:
“August 2019 stands out because it has brought a noticeable increase in large, intense, and persistent fires burning along major roads in the central Brazilian Amazon,” according to the space agency. “While drought has played a large role in exacerbating fires in the past, the timing and location of fire detections early in the 2019 dry season are more consistent with land clearing than with regional drought.” Much of the Amazon’s land clearance is to satisfy the world’s taste for meat: 91 percent of its deforestation since 1970 is due to cattle ranching, according to the World Bank.
Truthdig.com confirms that in 2019:
Since August 10, a spate of intentionally set fires have been raging in the Amazon. But Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in January, let them burn for two weeks before sending firefighters to put them out following an international outcry.
On August 22, 2019 the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, wrote that the U.N. must act to protect the Amazon from those fires, but Bolsonaro, who Trump supported, said they were interfering with Brazil’s sovereignty — cries of neocolonialism.
Truthdig noted this:
All UN member countries are bound by the resolutions of the Security Council. Article 25 of the Charter says, “The members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council.” And Article 49 states that the UN members “shall join in affording mutual assistance in carrying out the measures” upon which the Council decides.
Why didn’t the United Nations act against Brazil? The Amazon actually spans nine South American countries. There is simply no place else on earth like it. It has, for instance, 41 different plants that can treat malaria. It is — or was — known to play a crucial role in stabilizing world rainfall.
Apparently Bolsonaro worried about getting voted out, as he saw what happened to Trump. His policies were obviously not so popular. He warned that the next election looks like it’ll be fraudulent. But he was running at poll rating of only 23% compared to his rival. He threatened to cancel elections if changes to voting weren’t made. He’s another who let the virus rage, killing 557,000 Brazilians. No wonder they wanted him gone.
So now they have a leftist government under da Silva. What has he promised about the Amazon rain forest? And can he deliver?
Da Silva previously governed in 2003 and in 2010. During Bolsonaro, poverty increased by 9.6 million people. Silva had been imprisoned on corruption allegations, but those were later annulled by their Supreme Court. This still was a stunning win for the 76-year-old. One of his plans is to change the country’s tax code, something the U.S. has yet to do. At the time of his win, however, Bolsonaro and his supporters had yet to claim defeat. Da Silva will face the same challenges that Biden faces, in a hostile & conservative Congress.
“Lula da Silva has repeatedly said during his campaign that he would seek to curb deforestation. He has argued that protecting the forest could produce some profit, citing the beauty and pharmaceutical industries as potential beneficiaries of biodiversity. In an interview with foreign press in August, Lula da Silva called for “a new world governance” to address climate change and stressed that Brazil should take a central role in that governance, given its natural resources.”
Let’s hope da Silva lasts long enough this time to make an impact. In an updated article from CNN, he was sworn in on January 1, 2023, to sounds of violence yet ringing from Bolsonaro supporters. Before the inauguration, Bolsonaro flew to Florida — apparently a sanctuary for ultra-conservatives.
Let’s never forget this attitude of a national fractured as the impact of Trump. What we need is to unite as one planet, on Earth Day. Every day. Best wishes and long life to Lula da Silva.
The Week, August 13, 2021, p. 10
Global Landscape Forum.org https://www.globallandscapesforum.org/glf-news/as-fires-sear-amazon-rainforests-u-n-secretary-general-urges-protection/.
Nature and Culture.org https://natureandculture.org/ecosystems/amazon-rainforest/. This site will take donations to protect the rainforest.
UN.org “The Transformative Change We Need to Live in Harmony with Nature,” https://www.un.org/en/un-chronicle/title
“Lula da Silva will return to Brazil’s presidency in stunning comeback,” CNN.org, https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/30/americas/brazil-election-lula-da-silva-wins-intl/index.html, October 31, 2022.
“Lula da Silva sworn in as Brazil’s president amid fears of violence from Bolsonaro supporters,” CNN.org, https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/01/americas/brazil-lula-da-silva-inauguration-intl/index.html, January 1, 2023.
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