If you want some numbers that will stop you in your tracks, Ali Velshi's segment with two leading experts on the Amazon's rain forest will do it for you. Paul Rosolie, a conservationist who gives tours of Brazil's rain forest, and Emilio Bruna, Director of the Brazil Institute at the University of Florida appeared on Velshi and Ruhle to drop some knowledge on us that should open our eyes to what we're losing in these devastating fires. Here are some of those numbers:
- There have been 39,000 fires in the rain forest this year
- Nearly 1,500 miles - length of smoke plume from end to end (distance of London to Athens)
- 1/5 of clean water on the planet comes from this Amazon rain forest.
- 1/5 of clean air on the planet comes from this Amazon rain forest.
- Since 1970, we've already lost a portion of the Amazon equal in size to the state of Texas plus Kentucky.
- In 2003, 27,000 km of forest was cleared for development and agriculture. In 2012, that was down 80% (4,600 km cleared.) Since Pres. Jair Bolsonaro came to power, it's increased 65% over 2012 level.
- Rain forest covers 40% of Brazil, 2.3 million square miles in area.
- Over $1 Billion (with a "B") donated by Norway alone to the Amazon Fund. That is how much value European countries place on keeping the Amazon rain forest and river basin in tact because of the environmental benefits it provides the entire planet. Money it is now halting because of Bolsonaro's reckless treatment of Brazil's rain forest.
Ali Velshi asked his guests what exactly Bolsonaro has to do with this depletion and destruction of the rain forest in Brazil. Was it because he was so hands off? Au contraire, emphasized Emilio Bruna.
Sound like anyone we know? But wait. There's more. When asked about the rising global alarm, the crescendo of criticism around the world against his inactions, Velshi wanted to know if it would perhaps influence Bosonaro to act differently, and in such a way as to preserve what remains of the global treasure that is the Amazonian River Basin and rain forest. Bruna's answer will remind you eerily of a certain sentient bag of gelatinous orange goo that slimes the Oval Office.
Is this fixable? Can these fires be put out? Can the damage be reversed? Well... no. Conservationist Paul Rosolie broke down the numbers:
VELSHI: And the industrial work to have to redo that, to take carbon out of the atmosphere and clean water and clean earth, that would be huge.
ROSOLIE: We don't have the technology for that. We don't have the capability for that. Right now NATURE is the thing that does that. That's why the whole thing is that we need to re-assess our entire relationship with nature. Everyone keeps messaging me going how do we put out the fires? You can't put out the fires. Even if you could, this is a systemic problem. This is decades and decades of deforestation that we've allowed to happen. This is apathy. We understand biology. We understand how interconnected all these systems are.
We understand it, but if it makes us a quick buck, we're cool with burning it down.