Australia v. Amazon

All of a sudden, the Amazon rainforest dropped sharply down the West’s list of concerns. The koalas and kangaroos suffering from the fires in Australia became more newsworthy than the indigenous people who are losing their ancestral lands, as government demarcation processes have stopped dead.

So, why is the world’s concern so selective?

After all, it’s not just the burning of the largest rainforest in the world, with about 76 percent more fires in 2019 than last 2018. Fires that will have a big and long-lasting impact on the forest itself, and the wider world, turning some areas into a completely different ecosystem, with fewer trees and species of flora and fauna.

There’s also the fallout of the Brumadinho dam failure, which killed at least 249 people and countless animals, and the mud from the collapse spilled into the São Francisco River—the longest waterway to run entirely within Brazil’s borders. The region’s natural conditions will never be the same.

Again, why is the world’s concern so selective?

We should never forget: more than 300,000 of those remaining indigenous life in towns and cities, while another 570,000 live in poorer rural areas. Together, they make up 0.47 percent of Brazil’s total population. We just can’t forget about the rich culture that lies in the indigenous tribes, even though they seem not that important to occidental countries. 

Background reading: 

  • Brazil is the first nation to speak at the United Nations General Assembly. But this year marked the debut of Jair Bolsonaro. Here’s how it went.