Open Burning of the Amazon

“You have to understand that the Amazon is Brazil’s, not yours.”
President Jair Bosnaro

In late August, 2019, the world discovered that Brazil’s duly elected right-wing President Jair Bosnaro had declared open burning in the Amazon, with nearly 3,000 known fires in August (fires are the icon of the warming Earth —- it’s here already). The map from the New York Times provides geographical context.

President Bosnaro declared that protecting the Amazon is an obstacle to economic growth: “Where there is indigenous land, there is wealth underneath,” he proclaimed.

Got that. This is his country, Brazil can enjoy its right to despoil a treasured asset of Life on Earth. They can do it. Too bad, huh! Get used to ecocide. Tell your children that this is freedom in action, economic growth underway, anti-colonial nationalism. No sweat. Not much of a future either. Too bad.

Let the more fortunate colonial hypocrites pontificate about “saving the planet.” The “international community,” a non-being, has not been established to protect Life on Earth, and probably never will. Face it: Game over for Life on Earth. Nice while it lasted.

In September 2008, when the Big Boys melted down the financial arrangements that make the rich even richer, governments bailed them out with trillions, while the perps greedily profited from the assistance. (The G-7 offered Bosnaro $20 mil to help put out the fires.) This is capitalism, which must be protected at all cost, a privilege not extended to Life on Earth. Get real: I can imagine a world without the Amazon, but can’t imagine a world without capitalism — for a few more decades, anyway. “Greed is good.” Life on Earth is dispensable. Get your priorities straight. .

Some links help explain:

  • President Bolsonaro, insulted, angrily refuses outside aid. Rich folks occasionally want to help the “less fortunate.” Go, Dude: Stick it to the meddlers in Brazil’s precious autonomy, especially the French complainer-in-chief who would be a world moral leader — can’t have that in the Age of Trump and his followers such as Bosnaro. Nope.
  • Fires in the Amazon are not new, and have actually been less destructive, but President Jair Bosnaro has withdrawn protections by fiat. The New York Times explains.
  • Environmental workers complain, even write a letter, only to be rebuffed by  President Bolsonaro.
  • But wait! President Bolsonaro will call out the army to save the Amazon. He even said so. A favorite tactic of rulers: Say “Yes,” but do “No.” I would entertain side-bets against any serious action.
  • The New Yorker offers a profile of President Bolsonaro, indicating his disdain for protection of the Amazon.
  • Global Forest Watch provides a superb website track the global assault on forests. Note the losses in the tropics. The mapping tool is extraordinary.
  • Big corporations like Cargill, the food giant, has invaded the Amazon for production of such crops as beef, palm oil, and soy. Note that with Dude Trump’s Trade War (“Easy to win,”), China has abandoned farmers in the USA Bread Basket, sourcing instead in Brazil with long-term contracts and with funding assistance.
  • Extensive media coverage shapes public opinion, sounds the alarm, but may fade soon. The destruction of the Amazon, widespread since the early 1970s, will nevertheless continue

More sources will follow.

Indigenous People Fight Miners

What can be done? Tinkerers with capitalism should realize that “transfer of development rights,” carbon markets and taxes, letter-writing campaign, reasoned arguments, and all the rest, will produce only ironic disdain from those in power. These have all been done before. Instead, support more effective actions — and more will be listed later.

Indigenous people have again fought back, as shown by the New York Times.

Munduruku indigenous tribe members trek through their protected indigenous land that illegal miners had destroyed in search of gold.

As this issue unfolds, I will look for more responses.

A Meme: Mock Trials of the Perps

How about a Nuremberg Trial style (mock) court (elites would never allow the real thing) that holds public trials on Ecocide and Atrocities to Human Rights? Lay out the case and gather responses. Shame the perps. Demand retribution from the plunderers and the kleptocrats (rule by the thieves), even their heirs. Let ’em know that we are watching and will not forget. Stare them down.

Use real courts to claw back their illicit plunder whenever possible. Crowd source a Life on Earth Legal Defense Fund. Outlaw extinction and wanton destruction of life for profit, greed, stupidity, and power. Root out hierarchy and patriarchy, not rain forests.

Do all this publicly: Shame the perps. Let then know that their day will come. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but some day. No more amnesia, we shall never forget you, Dude Bosnaro, Trump and his heirs, and all the others who recklessly destroy what belongs to all future generations of all forms of Life on Earth. This Earth is not exclusively yours, Mr Bosnaro.

Soon.

Discussion

Several readers objected to the strident tone of the first version of this post. I responded with indignation and alarm as I contemplated the increeased burning of the Amazon. I have slightly toned down my alarm and shown a bit more respect for President Bolsonaro: Not only did I misspell his name, but I dubbed him Dude in Charge.  I have made these adjustments but the ire should be directed at the perpetrator of the atrocity, not the messenger.

More, I released the blog to a distribution list too hastily. Wrong move that will not happen again. My apologies.

Frankly, my indignant and alarmist tone reflects the urgency of the overall concern for accelerating plunder of the planet, ecocide. Commodification transforms forests and its human inhabitants, living ecosystems, into items for commerce, including the migration into urban labor pools. The “externalities,” a trivializing distortion, hardly captures the rupture of living processes. The entire discussion of ecocide and erosion of human dignity has been cloaked in polite language that fails to disclose the magnitude of the conditions now intensifying. I have no regrets for the strident tone.

Finally, I regret that my Facebook post garners few likes. My photographs catch more attention. Disappointing. Onward!