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Bolsonaro is Being Scapegoated

Shivani Tripathi

Posted on August 31, 2019 17:41

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The world has been keen to condemn Bolsonaro for the recent Amazon rainforest fires. However, we are glazing over the truth.

The Amazon Rainforest fires have been dominating the news lately. Everybody from celebrities to French President Macron have opted to blame Bolsonaro for the fiasco. 

Bolsonaro is not an innocent character. His government has cut funding for agencies responsible for fire protection, he has encouraged mining and agriculture in the Amazon, and his anti-environment rhetoric doesn’t help, either. 

However, deforestation is not unique to Bolsonaro’s presidency. Past Brazilian presidents, left and right wing, have drastically cut funding for environmental protection agencies, forcibly removed natives from their land, and cleared millions of acres to make space for hydroelectric plants and cattle ranching. The only difference is that Bolsonaro is honest about his objective. 

Even then, we can’t place all of the blame on the Brazilian leaders who are merely trying to satisfy the world’s diet. Brazil is an agricultural export economy and is the largest beef exporter in the world. Over 80% of Amazon deforestation occurs to make space to cultivate livestock, beef in particular. In fact, the recent fires that have caused so much international outrage were set off by cattle ranchers. 

As the global population exponentially increases, so will the demand for beef. Millions of hectares in the Amazon (and worldwide) will be cleared to fill people’s plates. 

Humans have been destroying the environment to accommodate cattle for centuries. In fact, ⅔ of deforestation worldwide occurs for this very reason. Even then, the destructive effect of meat on the planet has been neglected from the climate change conversation-- click here to read more. 

So why does everyone care about the Amazon now? Is it because Bolsonaro, with his past controversies, is simply easier to blame? The leading news outlets have published a few articles about cattle ranching in the Amazon, but most of the international outrage has been directed towards Bolsonaro and his government. 

Instead of discussing the real cause behind the deforestation, the international community has chosen to scapegoat Bolsonaro. 

None of the “environmentally conscious” heads of state have encouraged their citizens to reduce their meat consumption. People have taken to social media to #prayfortheAmazon but will feel no accountability when downing a big mac later on.  

It’s time to stop pursuing sensationalism and take an honest look at the truth. 

Shivani Tripathi

Posted on August 31, 2019 17:41

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Source: Al Jazeera

Ricardo Galvao leaves post after right-wing Jair Bolsonaro criticised data showing accelerated Amazon deforestation.

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