“I am very frightened. One thing goes wrong, and the entire system follows.”
— Jair Souto, Mayor of Manaquiri
Jair Souto is the Mayor of Manaquiri, the capital of the Province of the Amazon, located near the Amazon rainforest of Brazil. Jair Souto is highly environmentally conscious, constantly defending the Amazon, a major “world lung,” during a time when many feel the country’s elected officials aren’t doing enough to address deforestation. This is Brazil’s major issue regarding climate change as people have long taken advantage of the lands, beginning with the expansion of the agricultural frontier and cattle ranching area in 1966.
Sadly, the problem of the Amazon crisis is minimized, while a recent 30% increase in deforestation has become the highest ever rate of deforestation in the rainforest. By 1975, 38% of the rainforest was deforested and now over half of the rainforest is suffering because of this. The Amazon is caught up in a set of “feedback loops” that could dramatically speed up the pace of forest loss and degradation, ultimately creating irreversible damage. If the speed of deforestation continues, this is predicted to happen by the end of the century.
Brazil also suffers other climate change consequences like droughts, as in 2012 through 2017 when Brazil was forced to declare a state of emergency. This hugely impacted the country, as they lost around $7.4 billion in agriculture. Brazil also witnessed some extremely high temperatures, large spreading fires that damage their remaining vegetation ecosystems, and floods which inconveniently happen in megacities.
Jair Suoto is one of the many people trying to spread awareness, however, a great part of the country is still damaged. Although designed to function with fossil fuels, Brazil is capable of making renewable energy systems and rebuilding its economy by it for a promising future.