Keep pressure on Brazil

Published 8:01 am Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Kudos are in order for world leaders who reacted quickly to forest fires in the Amazon that are so intense soot-darkened skies have turned day into night in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city thousands of kilometres away.

On Monday, the Group of Seven nations announced a $20 million (U.S.) aid package to help the Amazon countries fight those fires.

(…) But, sadly, those aid packages won’t stop future fires from being lit in a forest that is home to three million species of plants and animals unless world leaders can convince Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, to change his ways.

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That’s because the fires raging across Brazil’s rainforest are a result of the actions of loggers, miners and farmers who have received the message loud and clear from Bolsonaro that he supports their business activities over efforts to protect the rainforest.

(…) On Friday, in the face of intense pressure from the G7 leaders, Bolsonaro suddenly reversed course and proclaimed “a profound love and respect for the Amazon.” Indeed, he went so far as to say that “protecting the rainforest is our duty,” and dispatched the military to help fight forest fires.

That’s quite a turnaround given all his previous actions.

Regardless of the motivations for that, it shows he’s not immune to potential boycotts or political pressure.

Now all world leaders must continue to hold his feet to the fire to ensure his change of heart results in a permanent change of policy.

— The Toronto Star