Just in case you didn’t know from very late but extensive media coverage, the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest located mostly in Brazil has been on fire since January.
The fires are ruining the homes of many indigenous tribes and threatening millions of animal species. These fires are so bad, the smoke plumes are visible from space.
To the naked eye, it may seem like the only thing being done to prevent the fires from spreading is creating a trending hashtag on Twitter. However, there have been a few measures taken by other countries to aid Brazil in its recovery.
The Group of Seven (G7) is an economic organization made up of seven economic powerhouses — the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom. They funded a $20 million package for Brazil to aid in the Amazon rainforest fire clean-up and the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, angrily rejected it.
The Brazilian Chief of Staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, released a statement explaining Bolsonaro’s reaction. The statement singled out France and their leader, President Emmanuel Macron, and said that they should take care of their affairs and issues within their own country before helping others.
The actions of Bolsonaro and Lorenzoni show that Brazil possesses a large nationalist identity deep within its federal government and would prefer to handle this situation in its own way.
This nationalist identity is believed to have come from when Brazil gained independence from Portugal in 1822. Since it is very determined to maintain its independence, this is when historians believed that Brazil developed a heavy nationalist identity.
Other countries have expressed their concerns and taken initial steps to help Brazil as well.
For example, Venezuela is one of the members of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), a group of countries that agreed to protect the Amazon to allow it to keep developing. The president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, has expressed his sympathy and great concern toward Brazil and all of the people affected by these fires.
Finland’s prime minister, Antti Rinne, has also expressed his sympathy and said he has contacted the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union (EU) that is tasked with implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day affairs occurring within the EU. This could be a very important ally for Brazil to prevent the fires from spreading further and eventually ending them entirely.
The only way this could happen is if Bolsonaro puts some of his nationalist pride aside and is willing to begin negotiating and working with outside forces. It is ludicrous that Bolsonaro would even begin to consider denying this aid package due to all of the benefits it could have.
The opposing side however, argues that the aid package isn’t nearly enough, even comically saying that the notoriously hated Emoji Movie made double the amount in box office sales compared to the aid package. But I believe that any help is good help. Whether the countries wanted to donate $20, $20 million or $20 billion I feel it is Brazil’s duty to its people to accept.
This aid package is not just for Brazil, it is for the world. The Amazon rainforest benefits the world in many ways, such as preserving multiple species and being the largest oxygen provider. Brazil couldn’t put aside its nationalist pride to save the world.
If you are interested in helping the Amazon rainforest, you can donate to the Rainforest Action Network. The donation may seem small, but with many committees, organizations and charities at large and small levels coming together to work on stopping these horrible fires, one donation can make all the difference.