Jair Bolsonaro is having a similar impact on environmental laws in Brazil to the impact of Donald Trump in the USA – will the effect be longer lasting?

Just like Trump in the USA Jair Bolsonaro has taken an axe to the environmental protections that Brazil has created over decades. Also just like Donald Trump, the majority of these moves have been done by Executive act. Between march and may last year, Jair signed 195 infralegal acts – and just like under Trunp these acts are thought to be only just legal and should have gone through their governmental body.

More than 4000 square miles of rainforest was lost last year alone

Unlike Trump though, Brazil hosts one of the last huge rainforests. As such, what happens in Brazil affects us all. Of course it would not be hard to argue that environmental changes in the USA also impact us all – after all the USA emits roughly 15% of the worlds emissions from just 4.22% but that is a different matter (the USA does not host one of the “lungs” of the planet and so while emissions are terrible, it is not reducing the worlds ability to cope with emissions in the future).

It is indeed quite clear from various comments from the governmental administration, that much of this is against public wishes. Indeed in the last year there has been much talk of “running the cattle” a euphemism for using the COVID 19 epidemic to sneak environmental changes past its population.

The Atlantic forest, a less well known, but huge and equally important biome – already with just 12% remaining, has also been increasingly attacked by policy and rule changes under Bolsonaro. It would seem that the current government of Brazil is taking advantage of the time where the worlds mind is elsewhere to destroy its forests beyond hope of redemption.

What is particularly sad about this, is that it does not seem to be done in the name of all Brazilians anyway. The upper middle class appears to be gaining well – a class, along with the richest that is almost exclusively made up of descendants of European settlers. Indeed this move will hit indigenous communities especially hard – removing much of their land and damaging much of the rest. Unfortunately, given that he currently runs the country, Jair Bolsonaro has been able to install like minded individuals to run environmental protection organisations – only to hand over land to destroy the ecosystem that it hosts.

As we recover from Covid 19 there is little time to lose, we need to redouble our attention on this country and make sure that when Jair Bolsonaro leaves office as much of the incredible country remains as possible. Otherwise the incredible rainforests of Brazil are likely to be lost for good, along with any hope of the human race holding temperatures at levels that will be good for the world. It should also be remembered, that if these policies are carried out to completion, there is likely to be a huge change in rain patterns over the country – leading to rainforests drying into savannah and agriculture land drying into dust bowls and desert – indeed mass starvation is not an unlikely result of the changes that are being made. The problem is that they will take a few decades to have this impact, allowing the current government to suggest that any fears are unfounded, and then blame problems they cause on future generations.

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