Amazon rainforest deforestation reaches new highs in just one month in Brazil

Deforestation in Brazil is now out of control as more of the Amazon rainforest disappears at a higher rate in just the month of May alone.

Ever since Brazil’s President Jair Balsonaro took power he has gone on a crusade against environmentalism, putting the Amazon rainforest, also known as the “lungs of the world,” in the crosshairs like never before.

And lumber companies are making a killing. Literally.

According to The Guardian:

Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon surged last month to the highest May level since the current monitoring method began, prompting concerns that president Jair Bolsonaro is giving a free pass to illegal logging, farming and mining.

The world’s greatest rainforest – which is a vital provider of oxygen and carbon sequestration – lost 739sq km during the 31 days, equivalent to two football pitches every minute, according to data from the government’s satellite monitoring agency.

There’s already so much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that planting more trees won’t deal with it, and the latest deforestation news comes on top of reports that deforestation increased in 2018.

Weaker regulations and fewer inspections combined with firing officials tasked with protecting the rainforest has only accelerated deforestation. As the dry season continues, it’s only going to get worse, and the Brazilian government can’t hide it because satellite imagery makes it clear that trees are being cut down at a faster pace than ever before.

“The government can’t deny these numbers from their own agency. The question now is what they’ll do about it,” Amazon monitoring group’s Carlos Souza said. “By the end of July. we’ll have a clear idea of the impact of recent moves to dismantle environmental policies.”

“The spike in deforestation is depressing, but hardly surprising: you have a government in Brazil who is dismantling nearly every environmental policy put in place since 1992 and who is harassing federal environmental agents, thus empowering environmental criminals,” Climate Observatory secretary Carlos Rittl added. “However, we must wait and see how it will behave in June.”

If it’s anything like it behaved in May, the world is in serious trouble.

The United States does better, but not much. For 20 years between 1990 and 2010, about 949,150 acres of forest were lost each year. Of course, California is trying to do something about it by passing a law that bars companies from using supply chains linked to deforestation, which could force companies to do more to fight it.

It’s not too late to stop deforestation and reverse the tide. If nations focus on planting trees instead of cutting them down and work to create sustainable lumber harvesting strategies, we can reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and breathe easier knowing that our oxygen supply is more secure. We need trees to survive and the rainforest is where we need to start fighting for the planet and our lives.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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