When John Lennon composed “Imagine” in the 1970s, the Beatles member could have been talking about the Amazon rainforest, Brazil’s green jewel that is currently under threat by a list of menaces so long that maybe they wouldn’t fit in a single song.
Unfortunately, it is hard to avoid the feeling of hell below us, especially in light of consecutive warnings that Brazil seems to ignore regarding the forest’s future. And, the point of no return might be looming into view. While accumulated figures show the deforestation rates may be somewhat better than last year – from January to June 2022, forest clearance amounted to 21 percent of that cut in 2021 – the Amazon has still lost up to 2,000 football fields a day to deforestation so far in 2022.
Furthermore, Brazil passed the last three and a half years under a government that did little to nothing to show commitment to environmental protections. In fact, the opposite could be said, as the government raised the tone in favor of cattle ranchers, and landgrabbers, and against the adequate demarcation of indigenous protected lands. In other words, the Amazon region is screaming for help, but not enough interested people seem willing to hear.
Is it possible to imagine a bright future? Sadly, the lyrics “Nothing to kill or die for” echo in the Amazon. Recently, British journalist Dom Phillips and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira became internationally known names for the saddest of the reasons: while working in the Vale do Javari jungle to document and denounce eco emergencies, the two important environmental defenders were killed. Mr. Phillips was writing a save-the-Amazon guidebook, while Mr. Pereira was one of Brazil’s most important names for indigenous causes.
So, is there a non-dystopian future for the Amazon, where fauna and flora can be saved before rivers are irreversibly polluted? This future is possible. But we need to act now. “I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”