The Amazon is burning
in Beef, Bible and Bullets
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Chapter 11 looks at the breakdown of Brazil’s efforts to control deforestation and the growing international concern about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. This chapter considers some of the issues that have divided Bolsonaro’s supporters. The dramatic increase in deforestation in 2019–20 brought to the fore global concerns about the impact of deforestation on global warming. Much of this was down to Bolsonaro, whose administration weakened the institutions whose monitoring and policing work reduced deforestation in the period between 2004 and 2012. Bolsonaro provided encouragement for his wilder supporters – the small farmers, informal miners and loggers and property speculators who have colonised parts of the Amazon. The town of Novo Progresso in Pará celebrated Bolsonaro’s first six months in government by coordinating a series of fires in neighbouring tracts of rainforest. Yet many powerful commercial interests are alarmed by the impact of environmental damage on Brazil’s reputation abroad and the potential loss of markets and investment. A painstakingly negotiated and valuable trade deal with the European Union completed in 2019 may well come unstuck, for example.

Beef, Bible and Bullets

Brazil in the age of Bolsonaro

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