‘The lungs of the Earth are in flames’: Brazil faces global backlash over Amazon fires

  • World leaders, environmental groups and celebrities have publicly decried the vast swaths of forest being destroyed by the fires.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron has described the phenomenon as an “international crisis” that needs to be top of the agenda at this weekend’s Group of Seven (G-7) summit.
  • In response, Brazil’s firebrand right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has angrily told foreign powers not to interfere with his country’s sovereignty, despite admitting his country is not equipped to fight the fires.

The Amazon rainforest, often referred to as the lungs of the Earth, has been ravaged by a record number of fires this year, sparking global outrage over Brazil’s environmental policies.

World leaders, environmental groups and celebrities have publicly decried the vast swaths of forest being destroyed by the fires, while satellite images of dark smoke billowing out of the Amazon has been shared on social media by space agency NASA.

An intensifying wave of international criticism comes shortly after Brazil’s research center, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), reported that it had detected 72,843 fires in the world’s largest rainforest so far this year.

That marked an 84% rise when compared to 2018 and the highest since records began in 2013.

What have world leaders said?
French President Emmanuel Macron has described the phenomenon as an “international crisis” that needs to be top of the agenda at this weekend’s Group of Seven (G-7) summit.

“Our house is burning. Literally,” Macron said via Twitter on Thursday, highlighting that the world’s largest rainforest produces 20% of the world’s oxygen.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he “couldn’t agree more” with Macron’s call to raise the issue at the G-7 summit, saying world leaders needed to act for the Amazon.

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