Unfortunately this has just becomethe most watched video about Brazil on Twitter.
More than 20 million people have alreadywatched the videos of the Rondonia burnings which helped spread the hashtag #PrayForAmazoniaaround the world last Wednesday 21st August.
Yes, we are facing the worst burning seasonin 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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Join this amazing communitywhich values knowledge and information! Subscribe and be a part of us! 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 picturesare from burnings in the last years, not 2019.
By the way, there were many peoplesharing 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 forestthat 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 Ministerof the Environment, Minister Ricardo Salles are saying that these burns are normalat 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 stormand 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 overareas 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 perimeterfire has clearly been set intentionally.
” So why are our forests burning, for Christ sake? Beforehand, the Brazilian Forest Codeallows 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 chainare driven and knock down all trees on the way.
The forest that has been knocked downlies there drying up, normally until the dry season because that’s the only way the vegetationgets 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 grassthat 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 arrivesand 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 Foresthas 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 forestswere deforested in the Amazon, it is equivalent to more than twice the sizethe area of the city Curitiba, the capital of Parana.
And all that happened in only.
Thirty days! 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 checkif they were about illegal or legal deforestation.
But we can’t help but realize that those numbers show a trendthat is one of the worst possible.
Someone who didn’t really likethis 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 workingfor some NGO by disclosing this data.
INPE’s Director-General at the time, physicist Ricardo Galvão, countered the critics, saying thatthe institute’s work is serious and the data were solid.
“We have the biggest historical dataon deforestation of Tropical Forests.
” “which is world widely respected.
” The result: He has been dismissedfrom 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 gabblerand INPE just a half-baked institute? Ricardo Galvão is professor of thePhysics Institute of the University of São Paulo and of the most respected membersof 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 nameof the Director-General of INPE.
Not even who it was.
The more serious question about it allhangs 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 datain their Hello Kitty notepad? Nope.
Not sure if many people know this, but INPE is some kind of a brazilian NASA, that watches over the Amazonthrough 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 systemthat gives support for IBAMA’s inspections.
The third one shows what happened with the deforested area.
The data of this monitoring are usedto 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.