Doug Specht appears on Sky News and LBC to discuss fires in the Amazon Rainforest.

23rd August 2019

This year has seen unprecedented numbers of fires raging across the Amazon forest. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research detected 74,000 separate fires by mid-August, an increase of 83% compared to the same period last year, and this is expected to rise further.

The Amazon provides a home for around a third of the world’s wildlife, as well as being a huge carbon sink and the provider of around 20% of the world’s oxygen, critical for human existence. Furthermore, this is the kind of forest that does not easily grow back, requiring long periods of time even when it does.

Within this context, Doug Specht was asked to appear on Sky News and LBC Radio to discuss the implications and root causes of this destruction.
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Listen to Doug Specht discuss the Amazon fires with Clive Bull on LBC Radio.


Doug pointed to President Bolsonaro as the most significant cause of the fires. Since his precedency began on 1st January 2019, he has worked to roll back forest protections – this has included scrapping rules that meant land owners would need to preserve 80% of their forest land. Fines for illegal logging have dropped 34% in 2019, and attempts to cease the process have seemingly halted, with only 40 tons of wood products being stopped this year, compared to tens of thousands in other years. Bolsonaro has also put pressure on indigenous populations, removing protections for their reserves, and encouraging the burning of their land. This is an act that Doug described as ‘xenophobic’ and ‘racist’ in his interviews.

Doug also cited Bolsonaro’s push back against climate science, and desires to place nationalist politics as well as the expansion of extractive industries and agribusiness, ahead of environmental protections.

.When asked what can be done Doug pointed to the UN Security Council’s mandate to intervene in moments of wanton environmental destruction, which states military action is possible in times of ‘environmental degradation as a threat to international peace and security’ – however this is very unlikely to be enacted, and will be vetoed by member states fearful of setting a precedent.

Instead, Doug suggested that we must call upon international pressure through other channels to convince the Bolsonaro government to change its course. Additionally we need to address the political shift to the right, which is being experienced globally. Right wing politics, Doug concludes, are severely damaging for the environment, as well as social structures.

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Ways you can help;

  • Protect an acre of rainforest through the Rainforest Action Network.
  • Help buy land in the rainforest through the Rainforest Trust.
  • Support the rainforest’s indigenous populations with Amazon Watch.
  • Reduce your paper and wood consumption or buy rainforest safe products through the Rainforest Alliance.
  • Support arts, science, and other projects that raise awareness about the Amazon through the Amazon Aid Foundation.
  • Help protect animals living in the jungle with WWF.
  • Reduce your beef consumption. Rainforest beef is typically found in fast-food hamburgers or processed beef products.
  • Make your voice heard by signing a petition.

 

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