Bolsonaro ran for president promising to “integrate the Amazon into the Brazilian economy.” Once elected, he slashed the Brazilian environmental protection agency budget by 95% and relaxed safeguards for mining projects on Indigenous lands. Farmers cited their support for Bolsonaro’s approach as they set fires to clear rainforest for cattle grazing.
Bolsonaro’s vandalism will be most painful for the Indigenous people who call the Amazon home. But destruction of the world’s largest rainforest may accelerate climate change and so cause further suffering worldwide. For that reason, Brazil’s former environment minister, Marina Silva, called the Amazon fires a crime against humanity.