The destruction of the Amazon Rainforest, explained.
The 2019 fires were just the tip of the iceberg.
The Amazon rainforest has been reduced by about 17% since the 1970s. Cattle ranchers,
loggers, and farmers are mostly to blame for the deforestation, but the demand driving them
comes from all around the world. Brazil's economy depends on agriculture, especially beef
and soy, which is grown on cleared land in the Amazon. Today, president Jair Bolsonaro, is
weakening the environmental protections there in order to give agriculture more power. This
came to a head when, in summer 2019, more than 30,000 wildfires burned in the Amazon,
sparking worldwide outrage.
The Amazon rainforest has faced encroachment and deforestation for a long time. But it
wasn’t until Brazil’s military dictatorship came to power in the 1970s that deforestation
spiked, becoming a big business in the Amazon. When that expansion reached the state of
Acre, it met resistance. Chico Mendes, a rubber tapper from the region, took the fight to
protect the Amazon from the depths of the rainforest to the global stage. In the process, he
gave his life. But the fight he started lives on.
Published: Nov 22, 2019
Sun 10 Oct, 2021 09:00 pm
Brazil's indigenous land is being invaded.
Brazil has over 900,000 indigenous people, most of whom live in the Amazon. After centuries
of persecution, they were given extensive rights under a new Constitution in the 1980s,
including the right to claim and win back their traditional lands. Since then, hundreds of
indigenous lands have been demarcated and protected by the Brazilian government.
But in the last few years, those lands have come under attack by landowners, ranchers,
loggers, and farmers who want access to the resources inside these indigenous lands. And
since Jair Bolsonaro became president, the number of invasions into indigenous lands has