So what if you killed the planet?

The rainforests of Brazil are up for grabs, literally. Ranchers, gold miners and anyone who wants to make a quick buck head for the hills. No one will stop you. The president pledged a loosening of environmental restrictions. In reality, he eliminated them. The plumes of smoke from people burning the rainforest are visible from the space station with the naked eye.

Why is this bad? Don’t people need to earn a living? Brazilian scientists monitoring the devastation measure about 2,400 square miles of illegal burning last year and 3,600 square miles this year. All together, that’s a square of about 80 miles on each side. The devastation continues.

The planet, and all human life depends upon the rainforests for several things, 1 as a carbon sink where CO2 from the atmosphere is rapidly taken up into plants to become “biomass.” 2 as an oxygen source. In a big sense, the rainforests are the lungs of our planet. And 3 as a source of atmospheric moisture. Moisture from Brazil become rain in North America. But political expediency has now given our planet emphysema. Instead of breathing, the rainforest is belching out more CO2 as trees and plants are burned to clear land.

It is a global outrage. The only purpose of this destruction is to keep one autocratic politician in power. When a sovereign nation holds a major portion of vital resources for life on the planet, we may need to reconsider our notions of sovereignty.

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