Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro offered up a couple of suggestions when a reporter asked him how to balance protecting the planet with agricultural development. Eat a little less, he said, and only poop every other day.
The journalist was referring to a topic that has President Bolsonaro in hot water – an increase in deforestation in the Amazon. Official studies have provided data that shows an increase in deforestation and Bolsonaro is coming under fire for it. His solution so far has been to fire the head of the agency that provided that data. The report concludes that deforestation and agriculture are responsible for a fourth of the planet’s greenhouse effect.
“It’s enough to eat a little less. You talk about environmental pollution. It’s enough to poop every other day. That will be better for the whole world,” he said.
This takes government butting into the lives of its citizens onto a whole new level, doesn’t it? Scientists are blaming Bolsonaro’s policies, which they claim favor development over conservation. Experts say that cutting down trees to make room for pastures for cattle is a big problem. In past years, the policies of Bolsonaro’s predecessors included levying fines and confiscating lumber to reduce deforestation. Bolsonaro has dramatically reduced lumber confiscation and convictions of those charged with environmental crimes. He also criticizes the penalties – fines – issued by federal agencies.
Environmentalists are concerned about preserving the Amazonian rainforest because it is the largest in the world and works to absorb and store carbon, which slows climate change. One agency – Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) – used figures from June and July in comparison to those two months a year ago to show an escalation in deforestation. Cue the ominous scary music.
According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), which tracks clear-cutting of the rainforest, around 2,254 square kilometers (870 square miles) of the Amazon were cleared in July, an increase of 278 percent from a year ago.
That followed a 90 percent increase in June compared to the year prior — figures that Bolsonaro has called “lies,” and which prompted the sacking of INPE chief Ricardo Galvao on August 2.