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Captain Chainsaw is burning the Amazon, and the rest of the world is cheering him on.

An Opinion Piece by Doug Specht, published by Diplomatist

“Captain Chainsaw”, this is the strangely affectionate nick-name given to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. While in some parts of the world such a name might be given as an insult, in Brazil it is a celebration of Bolsonaro’s economic policies and exploitation of natural resources as a way of boosting the faltering economy. These policies were brought to the attention of the world in August as fires blazed across the Amazon region, blacking out the sky in Sao Paolo, over 1,500 miles away, stirring international outcry. It quickly became clear that many of the fires were started deliberately, but while there is a presently a ban on starting new fires, many continue to rage, with over 121,000 being reported in 2019 up to mid-September, an increase of over 50% on previous years. The fires themselves have already fallen out of the headlines, but the political and economic policies of Brazil and the rest of the world remain, and without an examination of these, we will see further destruction of the Amazon and other resources vital to human existence.


Read on below, or download the pdf of this article.





Doug Specht


Doug Specht is a Chartered Geographer (CGeog. FRGS) and a Senior Lecturer (SFHEA) at the Communication and Media Research Institute, within the University of Westminster. His research examines how knowledge is constructed and codified through digital and cartographic artefacts, focusing on development issues, and he has written on this subject in numerous books and papers. He has also spoken on topics of data ethics and mapping practices at conferences and invited lectures around the world. He is a member of the editorial board at Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, and sits on BSi committee IST/36 Geographic Information, where he focuses on geographic data in the SDGs. Doug is additionally a trustee of the Santa Rosa Fund, an educational charity; and a core member of the Environmental Network for Central America.


14 October 2019
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CAMRI | Captain Chainsaw is burning the Amazon, and the rest of the world is cheering him on. - CAMRI
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