I remember hearing about how important the Amazon is when I was a schoolkid, how important it was to save it. I don’t remember them talking about the rest of the planet’s forests though. I certainly never got taught about how my ancestors clear cut most of their trees. When I go visit my great-grandfather’s house, it’s important for me to remember that almost every tree in that area is about post the year 1900. Local residents and lumberjack companies took the rest of the forest in the hundreds of years before that time. I’m sure my family did it all with glorious abandon, they were in America from the 1600’s. Parts of the area that are now unspeakably, beautiful forest must have looked like desert moonscapes a 150 years ago.
So the planet now points the finger at Brazil? Okay, got it. But as the BBC points out, what about the Amazon in Bolivia?
What about the forest fires in Indonesia and Malaysia to start palm oil plantations that literally blot out the Sun in Singapore each year?
Or here’s a shot from The Economist which shows forest fires globally right now. Seems the real problem is in Africa more so than Brazil.
I’m not saying I want the Amazon to burn. It’d be nice if it didn’t. But there are no easy answers. When you look at it, everybody in human history has burned or chopped down their forests at some point.
The G7 wants to give Brazil $22M to stop. Or, in terms of scale for international monetary efforts, about $4. What a joke, if I was Brazilian I’d be pissed too at the contemptuous, cheap way people are talking about my country.
The answers are much harder. Throwing money at the problem isn’t the answer. Careful, considered, engagement is. But it has to be global. It’s not about the Amazon. It’s about the whole planet.