“You can’t end deforestation or fires, it’s cultural,” Bolsonaro

The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, said that deforestation is a cultural problem and that the increase is not due to its management.

Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil.

Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil. / Photo: Reuters

LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza

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Leer en español: “No puedes acabar con la deforestación ni con los incendios, es cultural”, Bolsonaro

The statements, collected by DW, were delivered by Bolsonaro on November 20. The president said that the deforestation of the Amazon is due to a cultural phenomenon related to traditional logging and tree burning practices by jungle inhabitants. Bolsonaro vehemently denied that the increase in deforestation is due to his government policies.

However, the National Institute of Special Investigations (INPE) recorded that deforestation has increased in the period from August 2018 to July 2019 and that it reached historical levels in the last 11 years. The INPE says that during this period the Amazon lost the equivalent of 10,000 soccer fields, that is, 9,762 kilometers of vegetation. This figure represents an increase of 29.54%, according to the report of this institution.

Environmental leaders have indicated that the increase in deforestation is partly due to the policies promoted by Bolsonaro. DW points out that environmental organizations have indicated that farmers and landowners are motivated by the government to work unsustainably in the Amazon rainforest. Environmentalists indicate that initiatives such as expanding the agricultural frontier are just one of the ways in which Bolsonaro is negatively impacting the lungs of the world.

Also read: Amazon deforestation and number of fires show summer of 2019 not a 'normal' year

Jair Bolsonaro v.s The Amazon

Criticisms against Bolsonaro's government policies regarding the Amazon are not new. In fact, throughout his term, he has received tough grades. For example, on July 29, the newspaper El País called it "planetary environmental villain" for its lack of guarantees to protect the lungs of the world.

The nickname seems deserved. The president's incendiary statements regarding the protection of the environment only reinforce the idea that Bolsonaro is more concerned with turning Brazil into an agricultural power than in protecting the natural and cultural resources that the Amazon lodges.

When massive fires occurred in the Amazon rainforest in September, Bolsonaro took an uncompromising stance at the help offered by the G7 to mitigate and control the flames. The president assumed the offer of help as an attempt to undermine the governance of his cabinet and undermine his sovereignty. He even said that French President Emmanuel Macron treated Brazil as a colony. In addition, Bolsonaro said that the Brazilian Amazon is a "virgin" that "the perverts want" and that what Europe seeks to protect the lungs of the world is to have access to the natural resources that lie there.

His "economically progressive" stance has led him to say that only vegans are interested in the Amazon. El País collected the following statements “When the raw materials are finished, what are we going to live on? Are we going to become vegan? Are we going to live from the environment?

Bolsonaro still has three years of office. Environmentalists tremble and the world hopes that their eagerness to position themselves better economically does not end up affecting global environmental well-being, especially at this point in climatic inflection that crosses the planet.

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