Brazil VP challenges DiCaprio to hike in Amazon rainforest

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BRASILIA: Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao challenged Hollywood actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio to an eight-hour hike in the Amazon, saying he wanted to show that the rainforest is not burning.

Mourao, who heads President Jair Bolsonaro’s task force on fighting deforestation, took issue with DiCaprio reposting an Instagram video from with images of the world’s biggest rainforest in flames.

“I’d like to invite our most recent critic, the actor Leonardo DiCaprio, to come with me to Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira (in northern Brazil) and walk eight hours through the jungle,” Mourao said at an event on sustainable development in the Amazon. “He’ll get a better understanding of how things work in this immense region.”

DiCaprio, an outspoken environmentalist, shared the post on his own Instagram account. The accompanying caption cited satellite data from Brazil’s space agency showing the number of fires in the Brazilian Amazon in July increased 28 percent, with early numbers for August also showing an increase.

“Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is under pressure internationally to curb the fires, but he has publicly doubted the severity of them in the past claiming opponents and indigenous communities were responsible,” said the post.

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Bolsonaro has faced international condemnation for presiding over rising deforestation and huge fires in the Amazon last year. He has downplayed the issue saying last week that “this story that the Amazon is burning is a lie.”

He is also keen to avoid a repeat of last year’s international outcry. In July, he decreed a 120-day ban on the agricultural fires used by farmers and ranchers to clear their fields with the slash-and-burn method – the main cause of fires in the Amazon.

Bolsonaro has deployed the army to the region ahead of this year’s fire season. Mourao claims the policies are working saying deforestation decreased 36 percent in July 2020 from the record level of July 2019. However, the same data also show that deforestation increased 34.5 percent in the past year till July.

 

 

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From The @Guardian: The number of fires burning in Brazil’s Amazon in July was up 28% on the same month last year, according to data from Brazil’s space research agency INPE. Early numbers for August also show a 7% increase. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is under pressure internationally to curb the fires, but he has publicly doubted the severity of them in the past claiming opponents and indigenous communities were responsible. Last year’s Amazon wildfires were devastating enough, but with the weather being drier this year so far, as well as the Coronavirus pandemic which has killed more than 99,000 Brazilians, there is growing concern that the ongoing deforestation isn’t getting enough attention. . . . . . . #Brazil #Amazon #Rainforest #Wildfires #Deforestation

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