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  • Risha Chaurasia

Reviving the Amazon Rainforest

Popularly known as the Earth’s lungs, the largest rainforest on planet Earth–the Amazon–was set ablaze last year in a series of catastrophic fires, burning down 17% of humanity’s lifeline.

Moreover, these fires were no accident but were purposefully caused by Brazilian farmers to fell land for agriculture who are emboldened by the previous government’s minimal regulation.

The Amazon is a carbon sink, meaning it absorbs more CO2 than it emits. It is also the most biodiverse forest and holds 20% of the world’s fresh water, making its protection all the more vital.

The Bolsanoaro government cut down environmental funds and even advocated for mining in the rainforest, although opposition had already stated that the forest would ‘collapse’ if the government went along with that decision. Eventually, the soaring deforestation CO2 emission rates during Bolsonaro’s 4-year term led to his defeat and resulted in a win for environmental activists everywhere. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn in as President.

“Brazil and the planet need a living Amazon,” he said, in a victory speech in São Paulo, vowing to bring deforestation down to zero and strengthen environmental agencies with stringent punishments on environmental criminals. This is a promise he seems to be delivering through the launch of Brazil’s first anti-deforestation raids, aimed at imprisoning illegal actions made by land grabbers, loggers, and ranchers.

Back in 2010, President Lula had actually made strides in reducing deforestation, when he reduced rates by 70%--a miracle he hopes to recreate now in 2023.

President Lula has also been aided by the international community in his efforts, particularly as the global community joins hands to protect our most vital resource: the Amazon Rainforest.

Columbia is now adopting a bioeconomy–an economy that serves the dual purpose of developing products sustainably to conserve and rejuvenate ecosystems while also creating jobs and raising income levels. Amazon holds the potential of becoming the world’s largest bioeconomy.

The German government has already pledged 200 million euros to Brazil for rebuilding environmental policies and agencies as well as supporting the indigenous inhabitants of the forests. Additionally, Germany also pledged to provide $87 million in low-interest loans for farmers to restore degraded areas and $34 million for Amazon states to protect the rainforest.

The Amazon Fund has also been reactivated by Brazil's Environment Minister Marina Silva, on the day she assumed office in 2023. Previously, the fund had been frozen in 2019. The fund aims at raising donations and investments for ‘preventing, monitoring and combating deforestation, and promoting the conservation and sustainable use of forests in the Amazon Biome.’ The Biden- led US government has pledged $500 million to the fund to support Brazil’s renewed effort to end deforestation by 2030.

Things seem to be on the uphill climb as the Brazilian government builds ribs for the Earth’s lungs. Will President Lula succeed and save the rainforest once again?


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