for those who don't want to watch a 22 minute video:
"Unfortunately this has just become the most watched video about Brazil on Twitter.
More than 20 million people have already watched the videos of the Rondonia burnings
which helped spread the hashtag #PrayForAmazonia around the world last Wednesday 21st August.
Yes, we are facing the worst burning season in the Amazon of the last seven years.
But what is causing these burnings?
Is it criminal or is it normal at this time of year?
And what is the true value of the Amazon? Is it really that important?
Hello, my dear friends, I'm Felipe Castanhari.
And I will try to explain in a simple way: What is happening in the Amazon.
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Now let's go!
Once people realized that the Amazon was burning
the issue went right away to the Trending Topics, the most commented topics.
Celebrities spoke out:
Cristiano Ronaldo, Madonna, Leonardo DiCaprio.
But it is important to clarify that these pictures are from burnings in the last years, not 2019.
By the way, there were many people sharing pictures that had nothing to do with it.
But it's always like that, when something like that goes viral
it always comes with misinformation.
So I'm here to set everything straight to you all.
Firstly, let's figure out where this is actually happening.
Are the fires all in the Amazon? Nope, it is not!
By the way, a lot of people mistake Amazon and Amazonas.
Amazonas is a brazilian state in the northern region
and the Amazon is a forest that exists mostly in the northern region of Brazil
but also occupies territory of other countries.
The burnings are not happening exclusively here in Brazil.
They are happening also in other countries of South America,
such as Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia.
In Brazil it is not only the Amazon Forest that burns.
Other States as Mato Grosso, São Paulo and Parana also have burning spots.
So we have fires in various types of vegetation,
Cerrado, Wetland, Atlantic Forest...
So it is not only in Brazil and not only Amazonia.
Now that you know where it is happening, it's time to clarify the causes of the fires.
Some people like the Minister of the Environment, Minister Ricardo Salles
are saying that these burns are normal at this time of year because of dry weather.
And is that true?
Well, it is half truth.
Yes, the dry winter weather helps spreading the fire.
But it doesn't mean that the Amazon is dry
up to the point that fires start spontaneously.
If we were talking about the Cerrado, which is much dryer,
this could easily happen, that's true.
But in the Amazon, it is practically impossible.
Practically because we would need a storm and a lightning to strike and set the forest on fire.
Is that possible? Of course, but it would be an isolated event.
Summing up: Out of 100 burnings in the Amazon, 99 have been certainly caused by men.
According to INPE, the National Institute for Space Research,
between August and July of 2019
we had an increase of over 40% in deforestation alerts.
These alerts coincide with the promised “day of the fire”
organized by farmers in southern Pará,
which they said served to “show service to President Jair Bolsonaro”.
In fact, the Minister himself, after flying over areas hit by wildfire in Mato Grosso,
said the fires he observed were of criminal origin.
The Minister himself said "criminal origin".
"[...] Here in the in the urban perimeter fire has clearly been set intentionally..."
So why are our forests burning, for Christ sake?
Beforehand, the Brazilian Forest Code allows Burn-and-Slash in some situations.
So there are places where you can set fire legally.
But first you need to inform a local Environmental Protection institute
to inform when and where they intend to burn
so they can get an authorization.
The burnings caused by men can have two different goals:
One is to clean the area after the harvest,
that means, preparing the ground for planting.
The other one is for deforestation of an area.
This second one is done as follows:
First they cut the trees of an area.
They call this a "big chain",
two tractors connected by a huge chain are driven and knock down all trees on the way.
The forest that has been knocked down lies there drying up, normally until the dry season
because that's the only way the vegetation gets rid of humidity, so they are able to fire it up.
Only after all the vegetation has been burned,
it is possible to plant the grass that the cattle is going to feed on.
The problem is that the fire of the already gone forests
often escapes to not deforested areas
and if those areas are dry enough, this fire might burn forests that are still up.
This is the main kind of burning we are seeing in the Amazon.
"Everything starts with small logging roads"
"going through the forest [...] and the road stays."
"And then the cattle rancher arrives and he cuts the remaining trees..."
"and burns everything to put cattle."
So as it all shows, most part of the fire is of criminal origin.
The thing is, deforestation in Brazil is not news at all.
It is not trending.
Deforestation has always been a big problem around here.
It is estimated that 17% of the Amazon Forest has vanished in the last fifty years.
But this topic has 'caught fire' - sorry about the pun -
After several studies by INPE, the National Institute for Space Research,
were released and started to be reported by the press.
In fact the problem really started with these news:
Deforestation increase of 88%.
Alright so is that a lot, a little?
Seems like a lot.
In June of 2019
920.4 km² of forests were deforested in the Amazon,
it is equivalent to more than twice the size the area of the city Curitiba,
the capital of Parana.
And all that happened in only...
It is important to say, INPE itself does not recommend
looking at those numbers within only one month
because since it is about deforestation alerts,
they might not have had the time to check if they were about illegal or legal deforestation.
But we can't help but realize
that those numbers show a trend that is one of the worst possible.
Someone who didn't really like this was our president, Jair Bolsonaro.
He stated that he was sure the data was false,
and hinted that the Director-General of INPE was "a traitor"
and that he could be working for some NGO by disclosing this data.
INPE's Director-General at the time, physicist Ricardo Galvão,
countered the critics, saying that the institute's work is serious and the data were solid.
"We have the biggest historical data on deforestation of Tropical Forests..."
"which is world widely respected."
The result: He has been dismissed from his position of head of INPE.
The minister of Science and Technology, astronaut Marcos Pontes,
has sent Ricardo out of office.
Wait, wait ...
Why did this happen? INPE's data are, in fact, a lie?
Is Ricardo Galvão a gabbler and INPE just a half-baked institute?
Ricardo Galvão is professor of the Physics Institute of the University of São Paulo
and of the most respected members of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences,
he started his career at INPE in 1970.
So no, Ricardo is not just anyone, but he himself is not the issue here.
Apparently, the president had nothing against him.
In fact, he didn't even know the name of the Director-General of INPE.
Not even who it was.
The more serious question about it all hangs around the data that has been published,
which the president stated are lies.
Alright but how do we know if they are true or false?
How do you measure a deforestation?
Do the technicians of INPE wander around the wild
counting each tree and recording the data in their Hello Kitty notepad?
Not sure if many people know this,
but INPE is some kind of a brazilian NASA,
that watches over the Amazon through many ways by satellite.
The first one dettects what they call "Clearcutting"
that is when a vegetation of an area has vanished completely.
The second one, identifies deforestation almost in real-time,
working as an alert system that gives support for IBAMA's inspections.
The third one shows what happened with the deforested area.
The data of this monitoring are used to understand if the goal of the deforestation
was agriculture, farming, logging, etc...
They also have a fourth way of monitoring, which is called Terra Brasilis Program.
It gathers the data of first and second programs
to show an overview of the deforestation in the Amazon.
And from that is where emerged the information
that the deforestation alerts of June 2019
were 88% more often than the ones in 2018.
"Alright, I get it how they do the monitoring..."
"but how was this information leaked to the press?"
Well, this information was not leaked, but simply published by INPE's website.
The data of the Terra Brasilis Program are available online.
Anyone in the world can go to INPE's website and have this information.
And it is exactly in this detail that we can see the absurd:
The president got mad because the press released data that were already public.
They were already public because of the Law of Access to Information.
" [...] so when that INPE detects just some data, "
" they have to upload this data, in this case Minister Marcos Pontes, "
" sending to IBAMA first and then release it... "
" You can't simply decide to release this data because "
" there might still be some [information] oversight. "
But that's it.
Bolsonaro wasn't happy about the data and dismissed the Director-General of INPE.
The problem is not the data about deforestation appearing in the news.
The problem is the deforestation.
I know it seems obvious but at this point we need to set things straight.
- Hug to Reinaldo Azevedo, I'm your fan -
Dismissing the Director of INPE
did not prevent the deforestation data of July to look worse than June's.
Deforestation alerts have been recorded in an area of 2.254,9 km².
If we compare with July 2018,
when it was 596.6 km², we can see a growth of 278%.
Two Hundred Seventy Eight Percent!
Obviously, the world has turned its eyes to Brazil
since the Amazon forest is the world's "lung" right?
Nope, it's not.
It's not the world's "lung", you've learnt wrong.
The Amazon does produce an absurd amount of oxygen.
But the forest itself that is home for the biggest biodiversity of the planet
consumes all that oxygen.
So it does produce a lot of oxygen, but also uses all of it.
The right thing to say is that the Amazon is the world's biggest "humidifier".
The main source of humidity of the Amazon is the Atlantic Ocean.
The winds of Ecuador's region push the humidity of the ocean inside the forest.
The plants not only use this humidity
but also return daily 20 billion tons of water steam to the atmosphere.
This creates a big river.
I'm not talking about the Amazon River, but a river made of clouds
which line up in the sky over the whole Amazon Forest.
This is how it produces the rain that falls not only over the forest
but over all other regions around it.
Brazilians, you should thank the existence of the Amazon, because without it
you would be living in a desert.
I don't know if you've noticed
But deserts tend to form in mid-latitude regions.
Observe the Kalahari desert in Africa,
or Atacama in Chile,
or the Australian desert, Sahara...
You got it, right?
Now, in South America
mostly in that area of Cuiaba, Buenos Aires, São Paulo and the Andes
theoretically this area should be a desert.
In other continents, in this latitude, the areas tend to be dry.
But here it doesn't happen
because the Amazon works to take humidity to those places
through it's floating "cloud river"
which works just as a sprinkler,
making it rain on those places.
The problem is that one of the consequences of Global Warming
is the increase of the Ocean temperature.
Because the Atlantic is increasingly hot,
part of the humidity that came from Ecuador
starts to travel to other places instead of coming to the Amazon.
This leaves the forest drier.
And thats when the deforestation becomes a bigger problem
because an area of the forest which loses its natural vegetation
gets drier and vulnerable to fire.
So if you put people burning a part of the Amazon
and add this to the forest being vulnerable to fire
the result is that this fire can spread to the point it gets out of control
devastating a much bigger area than it should.
So it's no surprise that in the year that deforestation started to increase
the Amazon became the main stage of wildfire in the country.
Out of three wildfires listed in August
two happened in the Amazon.
This is about 65% of burnings in the whole country in this season.
This is the first time it has happened since the beginning of measurements in 2003.
American spacial agency NASA
confirms that 2019 is the worst year of burnings in the Brazilian Amazon since 2010.
This explains the fact that Brazil is goint through the worst season of burning of the last seven years.
The numbers really indicate a scary scenario.
In 2018 we've had more or less 400 thousand burnings between January 1st and August 23rd.
This year, it was more than 78 thousand.
Guys, it's nearly twice as much.
But if you are still not convinced, let me show you something.
The top ten cities in the Amazon to show the highest index of deforestation
are exactly the cities which just had the biggest wildfire focuses.
See how it all fits?
So gathering all this information
the result is what we see now in the Amazon.
Unfortunatelly, to our President, the reason for the burnings could be something else.
"[...]Could be farmers, it could. Everyone is a suspect..."
"but the biggest suspicion is that NGO's are doing this..."
Well, there are no indicators that the fires are being caused by NGO's, alright?
At this very moment, we have whole areas of fauna and flora
being completely destroyed, and this is not a local problem.
As I've said, this is a problem of global scale.
Because trees are able to reduce the greenhouse effects through photosynthesis
the Amazon Forest has to be preserved at all costs
so Global Warming doesn't get worse.
But exactly the opposite is what's happening.
It is vanishing each day passing by.
Being burnt, the trees send even more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
So by deforesting you also send more pollutants into the atmosphere.
And this intensifies the Global Warming which is going to "fry" us all.
Since the Amazon is fundamental to regulate the planet's temperature
This has become a global problem.
But if you are one of those dear, amazing and sweet people
who think this hole talk is unnecessary,
that actually this has no effect on your life.
as it will not affect the economy of our country in any way
I dare to say that you are mistaken.
This does affect and it is already costing us a very high amount.
Have you heard the news about this "Amazon Fund"?
This is an international project to fight deforestation in the Amazon
and it has Germany and Norway as its main financiers.
Norway has already blocked 132,6 millions to the Amazon Fund.
Germany has announced they will suspend
155 million in donations to the environment non attached to the fund.
This blocking has happened because
the government team has partially changed
the management team which manages this fund.
And the government lets this happen right at a moment in which we have no money.
Also the same government affirms that one of the problems of this area's inspection is...
By the way it's kind of tragic
that the main concern of the government is that there is no money to supervise the Amazon
or preserve the environment in any way.
What they don't say, is that there was an initiative that worked like this:
A company that that got an environmental fine
could have deduction in case they invested in environmental programs.
But then our Minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles,
canceled the project, saying this money could not go to NGO's.
So if there is no money, these actions make no sense.
What makes it all worse, is the manner of our President to behave.
The answer from our President to Germany
was that the germans should use the money to reforest their own country.
Theoretically they would need it much more than Brazil.
He also posted a fake video, saying Norway is a country that kills whales in the North Pole
and that it has nothing to offer to Brazil.
Of course I do have to say
that Norway is still one of the only three countries in the world
that allow whaling.
They are also the main stockholder of mining company Hydro Alunorte,
accused in the past of causing an environmental accident with contaminated water
exactly in an area of the Amazon that's in Para.
So they are no example of preservation.
But there's no use in sharing a fake video to criticize Norway
and say the Norwegian government has nothing to offer to Brazil.
Actually they do. It's 132 million from Amazon Fund.
But what Bolsonaro does not realize
and people who support this kind of ungraceful speech
is that this has a very negative effect on our foreign policy.
Not long ago
an agreement has been signed up between Mercosul and the EU
which could be great for Brazil, by creating huge business opportunities.
This could be great for our Economy.
But sustainability is a crucial point in this agreement.
This does not mean other countries are heroes for the environment
or that their concerns are 100% focused on the environment.
This is of course a very important topic nowadays
but we are talking about countries.
Let's be honest: Countries do not have "friends".
Countries have interest.
An european farmer
is not against the growth of Brazil
because he has a personal issue with us.
The thing is, this guy is obliged to respect environmental laws
and this rises the cost of his product.
He does not want to compete with Brazil's product
which in the end is cheaper than his product
simply because it is made without any thoughts on sustainability.
If you were on this farmer's shoes
you wouldn't want it too, and you would push your country's government
to block those brazilian products.
So you've got to understand that the lack of sustainability
can harm Brazil economically.
Above all, when we talk about products of the agribusiness
which is one big pilar of our economy.
Trying to hide deforestation data
or saying that they are all false does not help anyone.
We have satellites all over the world monitoring the Amazon.
You just can't.
And don't get me wrong.
Brazil doesn't have bad environmental preservation laws!
They are good and strong.
The big issue is that they are not respected, nor applied.
This is the biggest issue.
We also cannot forget the fact
that the President tried to end the Ministry of Environment.
He just backed off because of the huge backlash.
A government that has put a ruralist
who agrees on mining indigenous areas
as the president of FUNAI,
our National Indian Foundation.
Let's also not forget that in July
we had a record number on allowing pesticides.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Because the environmental politics of this government are at the edge of absurd.
But today we've got a Minister of the Environment
who almost uses up all the money left to fight climate changes.
So we can't ignore that the current government
is a part of the problem.
It's true, we've never had a 100% environmentalist government.
This has never happened.
If you take Fernando Henrique's government and the first years of Lula's,
the deforestation number in the Amazon was really high,
because a huge expansion that happened with cattle raising and soybean producing.
But after 2005
deforestation started to decrease, because INPE started using the program DETER
which helped a lot on IBAMA's inspection.
After decrease through many years
deforestation started to increase in 2016
because Temer's government agreed to many concessions to ruralists
to approve the [Dilma's] Impeachment
and later on to pass on unpopular reformations.
Brazil has good environmental politics and we just cannot regress at this.
We need to keep creating and encouraging laws that protect the environment.
We also need to strengthen environmental agencies.
But besides that,
we need the government to supervise.
Supervise it, Government!
Because if there was an effective supervision, for example of the Amazon
I am sure we would not be going through this.
So this is what's happening in the Amazon.
That's why it's important that you share this video
with all your friends, so they understand and can join the cause.
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