We are shown through the world news outlets and social media that the Amazon forest is burning.

The vast acreage of the Amazon forest has been burning for a very long time. Yet it took a tweet from a forest native to go viral in order to get people’s attention.

The Amazon has experienced more than 80% more fires in 2019 than in the same period last year.

Many of them were started by farmers deliberately clearing land for cattle ranching, Reuters reports, and they have increased since Jair Bolsonaro, who is unsympathetic to rainforest preservation efforts, took office as president of Brazil in January. – Mother Jones (August 21, 2019)

The burning is Brazilian government approved as the natural and necessary stewardship of farmland. Of course, the farmland is mostly new and generated from burning the forests. Pesky, pesky details. 

The Amazon forest covers 7 different countries, but primarily Brazil. 

I wrote on this issue in 2008 when Bill Gates began investing heavily in agriculture. These investments were primarily in developing countries, particularly, Brazil. This was done under the guise of growing enough food worldwide. Through the Bill Gates Foundation, $306 million dollars was made available through grants that would be used to expand agriculture and “lift millions of small farmers out of poverty”.

Investors bought vast acreage of forest that would then be converted to farmland. His partnership with the government of Brazil aimed to improve and expand farming productivity in the region. It was an unholy alliance. Small farmers were moved off their lands and relocated to cities.

Investors began to burn the forests.

Activists, such as myself, tried to sound the alarm in 2008 and subsequent years, but It fell on deaf ears. The Bill Gates Foundation had done a great marketing campaign, ensuring that people believed that the expansion of farmland in Brazil was necessary to feed the world. People are hungry, right? Obviously, we need to grow more food.

Most people trust the Bill Gates Foundation and applaud what it does. Most people think the foundation is doing what is necessary.

Forests and grasslands are natural carbon sinks. This is why the Amazon forest is billed as the “lung of the planet.” Yet, this forest is deliberately being destroyed, reducing the planet’s capacity to remove carbon dioxide from the air.

Yet, the burning continues.

Unveiled at the G20 Summit, Gates partnered with the Brazilian government to invest in genetically modified soil microbes and synthetic fertilizers to grow even more food on the burned lands. Most crops get replanted annually, further stripping the land of its natural nutrients. Much of the food grown is wasted to spoilage, but special coatings are being developed to prevent spoilage.

None of the above, of course, will solve the issue of climate change from deforestation. Birds and other wildlife will continue to be destroyed and dislodged.

Diseases will be released. Healthy waterways will be corrupted.

We will continue to throw away unused food and move people into homeless situations in the city.

Meanwhile, the coffers of agricultural giants like Bill Gates continue to grow even while forests do not. Further erosion of Brazil and the surrounding regions continue.

The Amazon forest is burning. What’s more alarming is the bigger picture.