Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Lungs Of The Planet Are Failing

Called "the lungs of the planet," the Amazon rainforest is now ablaze; this year alone has thus far seen about 73,000 fires. When you consider that the rainforest provides about 20% of the world's oxygen, the situation, compounded by all the other climate-change havoc taking place, is dire indeed.

Start at the 12:00 mark to see this newest horror:


  1. In Indonesia they set the country alight from one end to the other to clear the jungle for palm tree plantations, the palm oil so popular in our food processing. Now Bolsonaro envisions something similar for the Amazon.

    A while ago I looked into Amazonian deforestation. Land cleared for agriculture there has a very brief productive life. Millennia of heavy rains have left the soil leached. It was enough to support the jungle canopy but that was about it. The indigenous peoples organize into relatively small communities, each requiring a large area of jungle for hunting. The jungle doesn't support enough wildlife for the tribes to form larger groups around a particular culture.

    There is one area unlike the others where the soil remains black and fertile and incredibly productive. Scientists call it "terra preta" or black earth. What they discovered is a layer of soil tilled with carbon, biochar, to a depth of several feet. They concluded that 2,500 years ago there existed a true civilization that stumbled upon the key of rehabilitating the soil with carbon. What happened to them no one seems to know. 2,500 years and that soil is still black as night and incredibly arable.

    Bolsonaro wants to ravage the land for agriculture. When the land is cleared it remains arable for a handful of years after which the croppers have to move ever deeper into the forest, clearing out the indigenous tribes one by one. For that Trump gives him a hearty 'hail fellow well met.'

    It's madness, Lorne. It's a madness that is spreading. We may all be in for a surprise as we see how these countries react to the first big wave of climate change impacts expected to set in over the next ten years.

    1. As our environmental sins mount, Mound, the toll to be paid rises as well. I don't see a good ending for any of this.