I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame.Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s far-right president
During his election campaign last year, Bolsonaro promised to open up protected indigenous reserves for business and development. Emboldened by this far-right, hate-spewing, deforestation proponent, cattle ranchers and loggers have been razing the forest to make way for development and settlement, pushing out indigenous peoples, destroying wildlife habitat and setting the Earth’s lungs ablaze. Read more about the causes of the fires here.
The 73,000 fires that have burned between January and August are nearly double the 40,000 that burned in all of 2018, with almost 10,000 started Thursday alone, according to Business Insider.
How to help the Amazon now
The Business Insider article I refer to above lists six charities that help the Amazon, all of which have received a rating of at least three out of four stars from the charity watchdog Charity Navigator.
- Amazon Conservation Association
- Amazon Conservation Team
- Amazon Watch
- Rainforest Foundation US
- Rainforest Trust
- Rainforest Action Network
If you’re on Facebook, with a click below, you can donate to an Amazon Watch fundraiser I posted there.
Since 1996, Amazon Watch has protected the rainforest and advanced the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. We partner with indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability, and the preservation of the Amazon’s ecological systems.Amazon Watch
Join 350.org, Extinction Rebellion or Sunrise Movement and take to the streets for nonviolent resistance. According Harvard University political scientist Erica Chenoweth, with peaceful protest, once “around 3.5% of the whole population has begun to participate actively, success appears to be inevitable.”
3. Don’t buy Brazilian beef
While beef plays the largest role in Amazon deforestation, soy, palm oil and wood products round out the top four commodities driving runaway deforestation. Avoid them all.
4. Sign petitions
Sign this one to pledge to support “the indigenous communities, environmentalists, and human rights activists in Brazil fighting back against President Jair Bolsonaro’s plans to open the Amazon to unrestrained development, roll back protections for indigenous territories, and ignore international human rights commitments.”
Neither of these petitions require your mailing address, so you won’t get a bunch of junk mail by signing them.
5. Call your elected representatives
In the US, contact members of Congress and tell them to pressure Bolsonaro to put a stop to the deliberate fires. Tell them that you want environmental protections in place for any trade deals with Brazil. Find your rep here. Find your senator here.
6. Use Ecosia as your search engine
The site funds tree planting through ad revenue.
7. Plant a tree
Or two or three.
My fermentation fundraiser
Through these classes, I hope to raise at least $1,000 for Amazon Watch. Like last year, when I taught two online sourdough starter classes for Camp Fire relief here in California, I’ll happily eat the PayPal fees. That means 100 percent of your registration fees go to Amazon Watch.
If you have friends who would also like to attend with you at your computer or phone, bring them along at no extra charge. After several people have registered I will email everyone to confirm the class and to send some instructions.
Each class has a maximum 15 spots.
Saturday, August 31st, 8–9am Pacific Time
You will need flour and very basic kitchen tools for this class. Here is the list of materials. Donate a minimum of $25 to secure a spot. All proceeds will go to Amazon Watch.
Saturday, August 31st, 11am–12pm Pacific Time
You’ll need a SCOBY to brew your tea. To find one quickly, search on craigslist in the US, Kijiji in Canada, Gumtree in Australia and similar online marketplaces. Here is the list of materials for the class. Donate a minimum of $25 to secure a spot. All proceeds will go to Amazon Watch.