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In the past year, Brazil’s Amazon forest has faced an unprecedented amount of deforestation. The Amazon is one of the most biodiverse places on our planet; it is home to a countless amount of flora and fauna species. In addition, the Amazon does a lot for our global environment, in regards to cleaning and providing air. Amazon deforestation is a big deal. If we all know the importance of this global treasure, why is it being deforested? Let’s take a look.
Changes in the Brazilian government have indirectly (and directly) led to a lot of deforestation. Brazil’s current president, Jair Bolsonaro, took office in 2019 and has had a huge impact on the welfare of the Amazon. Bolsonaro has made it very clear that protecting Brazil’s environment isn’t a priority. Since taking office, Bolsonaro has given more power and leniency to those in the industry wanting to exploit the Amazon for profit. Lots of land has been opened up to cattle farmers who burn the forest in order to raise their cattle. In addition, many lands that were formerly protected, in the interest of indigenous peoples, are no longer being set aside from development/industry. Bolsonaro’s administration has also reduced the budget of Brazil’s Ministry of Environment while increasing the leverage of the Ministry of Agriculture.
The other main stress on the amazon is being caused by international players. Brazil is one of the world’s main producers of beef. A lot of this is exported and used by some of the world’s largest corporations. Many of these corporations have been public about trying to mitigate deforestation. However, they continue to support the problematic Brazilian industry by being clients to those causing the deforestation of the Amazon. The problem is compounded by Brazil’s aggressive soy industry. Enormous amounts of soy are grown in former Amazon-lands in order to feed Brazilian livestock. This means that even more rainforest is being cut down.
All of this activity is enabled by the lack of action from global banks and other players in the finance world. Many financial entities at play in the region have loose pledges about being supportive of environmental issues. However, almost none of these are strict enough or enforced at a level that makes any actual change. Some large multinational banks don’t even address the clear issues of deforestation and the protection of indigenous peoples.
The most effective way for us to make a change is to vote with our dollars. We need to take it upon ourselves to be informed and not support corporations contributing to the deforestation of the Amazon. The problems in the Amazon are centered in Brazil but affect all of us and our planet. Join Physis today to start taking a stand with your money!
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