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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
Satellite mapping of the devastating fires that swept through the rainforest in August last year. NASA Earth Observatory / Joshua Stevens

By Jessica Rawnsley

Antonio Donato Nobre is passionate about the Amazon region and despairs about the level of deforestation taking place in what is the world's biggest rainforest.

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Firefighters and search dogs look for victims of a landslide triggered by torrential rains in Barreira do Joao Guarda, a favela in Guaruja outside of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 4, 2020. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP via Getty Images

Brazil has faced a series of extreme weather events since the calendar flipped to 2020, with different states inundated with floods, torrential downpours, and mudslides that have killed 150 people in just a few months. Scientists say that the climate crisis is responsible, according to The Guardian.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Paula Kahumbu attends the TDI Awards during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Spring Studios on April 25, 2017 in New York City. Rob Kim / Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Women have long been at the forefront of the effort to protect the earth and its creatures. Some of them, like Greta Thunberg and Jane Goodall, are household names.

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This combination of pictures shows portraits of (L to R up) Suwerika Waiapi, Eriana Aromaii and Sykyry Waiapi; (L to R down) Kurija Waiapi, Ruwana Waiapi and Siurima Waiapi at the Waiapi indigenous reserve in Amapa state, Brazil on Oct.14, 2017. The tiny Waiapi tribe is resisting moves by the Brazilian government to open the region of pristine rainforest known as Renca, National Copper Reserve to international mining companies. APU GOMES / AFP / Getty Images

Brazil's divisive President Jair Bolsonaro has taken another step in his bold plans to develop the Amazon rainforest.

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Worker spraying toxic pesticides or insecticides on corn plantation. D-Keine / E+ / Getty Images

Poor people in developing countries are far more likely to suffer from exposure to pesticides classified as having high hazard to human health or the environment, according to new data that Unearthed analyzed.

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Uncontacted indigenous group in the Brazilian Amazon. © G. Miranda / FUNAI / Survival / Mongabay

By Jan Rocha

President Jair Bolsonaro pressed forward with a "dream" initiative sending a bill to the Brazilian Congress on Wednesday that would open indigenous reserves in the Amazon and elsewhere to development, including commercial mining, oil and gas exploration, cattle ranching and agribusiness, new hydroelectric dam projects, and tourism — projects that have been legally blocked under the country's 1988 Constitution.

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Indigenous people of various ethnic groups protest calling for demarcation of lands during the closing of the 'Red January - Indigenous Blood', in Paulista Avenue, in São Paulo, Brazil, Jan. 31, 2019. Cris Faga / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Raphael Tsavkko Garcia

Rarely has something so precious fallen into such unsafe hands. Since Jair Bolsonaro took the Brazilian presidency in 2019, the Amazon, which makes up 10 percent of our planet's biodiversity and absorbs an estimated 5 percent of global carbon emissions, has been hit with a record number of fires and unprecedented deforestation.

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A solitary Brazil nut tree standing by the highway in a cleared patch of rainforest. Colin McPherson / Corbis via Getty Images

By Liberty Vittert

This year, I was on the judging panel for the Royal Statistical Society's International Statistic of the Decade.

Much like Oxford English Dictionary's "Word of the Year" competition, the international statistic is meant to capture the zeitgeist of this decade. The judging panel accepted nominations from the statistical community and the public at large for a statistic that shines a light on the decade's most pressing issues.

On Dec. 23, we announced the winner: the 8.4 million soccer fields of land deforested in the Amazon over the past decade. That's 24,000 square miles, or about 10.3 million American football fields.

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Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the UNFCCC, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during Guterres' speech at COP25 on Dec. 11, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. Jesus Hellin / Europa Press via Getty Images

The longest UN climate meeting in history extended two extra days for a marathon bargaining session, but ended early Sunday morning with little accomplished. Policy makers mostly decided to punt strengthening their commitments to lower emissions and to a market for carbon emissions, until COP26 in Glasgow next December, the AP reported.

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Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during the 55th Mercosur summit in Bento Goncalves, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, on Dec. 5, 2019. CARL DE SOUZA / AFP via Getty Images

Right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is angry that 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is speaking out for indigenous rights.

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