Donald Trump has found a whole new way to screw us over

I woke up today, read a few articles about the shambles that is Brexit, the unbridled disaster that is the Trump administration, and then I read this: “Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has surged above three football fields a minute.” Buried beneath news on FIFA, reviews of a new show on a popular streaming service, simple recipes for people in a rush, and two articles about The Squad, was the article containing the above harrowing sentence.

You’re probably wondering a few things right off the bat. Is this true? What does it mean? And how is Donald Trump somehow making this worse? Brief answers to those questions are as follows: Yes. If this continues, it means the worst-case-scenario doomsday climate predictions will absolutely come true within a few generations. And Donald Trump is both actively rolling back domestic environmental protections and chummy with Brazil’s hateful president, Jair Bolsonaro, who might singlehandedly drive human existence off the cliff. Essentially, Bolsonaro got rid of any meaningful protections for the Amazon and put logging industry executives in charge of the country’s environmental and agriculture oversight.

Because of the enormous amount of biodiversity and sheer number of trees, the Amazon used to be the world’s biggest terrestrial carbon sink, which is to say a place where atmospheric carbon dioxide would be sucked up by plants and stored in their roots. Forests are essential to curbing the climate crisis. In fact, planting 1.2 trillion trees worldwide would sequester a simply enormous two-thirds of the carbon humans have emitted into the atmosphere. So what does Bolsonaro do? Ensure that the Amazon is destroyed as quickly as possible for very short-term financial gains for a very small number of people.

World leaders have an imperative to intervene or else face the consequences of an uninhabitable earth and collapse of civilization. Enter Trump, who treats Bolsonaro more like a kindred spirit than the menace to life on earth that he is. If indeed your friends are a reflection of you, then Trump is even worse than we all thought. Bolsonaro is exactly the kind of demi-autocrat whom the US used to despise, not invite to the White House for afternoon Diet Coke. The EU is set to work on a trade deal with Brazil, and one can only hope that they lay down the law with regard to protecting the Amazon. But given their weakened posture, my optimism is low.

This, above all else, is something we need to stand up for. Protest, call politicians, donate, volunteer, boycott, anything. This goes beyond party and it goes beyond Trump. This makes making peace with North Korea, Iran, and China look easy. Bolsonaro and Brazil should be sanctioned. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and the consequences of inaction could not be worse.

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