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During the s, as deforestation soared, the Brazilian government set in motion an ambitious plan to slow down the rate at which the rainforest was being destroyed. But that effort, which relied heavily on aggressive law enforcement operations, has lost traction in recent years.

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A languishing economy pushed thousands of unemployed people deep into the forest. Gradually, the government eased pressure on lawbreakers. With his pledges to curb environmental protection, Mr. Bolsonaro won 52 percent of the vote in the northern states that encompass the Amazon. But he attributes the fires mainly to drought, and scoffed at the notion that it justifies a boycott of Brazilian products.

Living in the Amazon is hard, he said. Mobility is difficult and expensive, access to health care is scarce and there are few options for leisure. Some residents in fire-scarred areas expressed alarm.

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Brazil is going to pay the price over our incompetence in dealing with these people. Environmental groups and indigenous activists say that land grabbing and deforestation have become increasingly brazen since Mr. Bolsonaro came into office. Today: More than 26, fires have been recorded inside the Amazon rainforest in August alone, triggering global calls for action. Forest fires are raging in the rainforest. There have been nearly 73, fires this year already, a more than 80 percent increase compared to last year. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has described the fires as an international emergency.

And actor Leonardo DiCaprio working to help combat the wildfires in the Amazon rainforest. The climate change —. You were seeing these really alarming posts and these photographs of patches of the rainforest on fire. And I think many people, understandably, were left with the impression that, within a few days, the Amazon was going to be reduced to a pile of ashes.

The Amazon rainforest, the so-called lungs of the world, are now filling with smoke. The forest —. And scientists warn this could be a devastating blow to the fight against climate change. There have been more —. And this is certainly a story about climate change. The tropical rainforest biome is a complex community exceedingly rich in many forms of plant and animal life, a showplace of natural history. It was this mysterious and dangerous place that drew adventurers and scientists and botanists. Through ceaseless evolution, a display of flora and fauna has developed here unequaled anywhere else on land.

And you know, for many, many years, it was these images of this raw wildlife and the mystique that laid under the canopy that people were fascinated by. But in the s, the Brazilian government, which was then led by military rulers, decided it was time to settle this vast rainforest.

And it created a road that cut through the Amazon and started encouraging people to move there and to start making a living there. The dense bush gave way to large buildings, where mining equipment is kept, and to silos, which today hold a harvest of mineral plenty. Their view was that the Amazon contained tons of resources — minerals, land that could be converted into farmland — and that it was time to turn it into an economic engine for Brazil. When it starts happening initially, people realize that things are changing.

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But there was no real alarm until a few years later, when things get really out of control. But any short-term profits come not without a price to be paid. These are some Indian friends of mine in the Amazon. Their lives today are in great danger. Their beautiful home in the rainforest is being destroyed by logging, mining and ranching.

This sparks worldwide consternation. And people start asking whether the Amazon might cease to exist one day if it continues to be destroyed at this rate. And this is the rainforest in 30 years if present trends continue.

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The lungs of the earth destroyed. People became very invested in this idea that everybody had a role to play in saving the Amazon.

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It does. I think many Brazilians saw these calls to preserve the Amazon as infringing its sovereignty. And for many years, they were pretty dismissive about this. And they said that the fate of the Amazon was only for Brazil and its neighbors to think about, debate about, and decide on.

During the s and the early s, we see deforestation reaching really staggering levels. Concern around the world, I think, reaches a point where the Brazilians can no longer ignore what people outside of the country were saying about this. So when President Lula, a leftist, is in office in the early s, he appoints a woman who was from the rainforest to serve as his minister of the environment.

Her name is Marina Silva. And she came up with a really bold and ambitious plan to rein in deforestation and create more conservation areas. She was somebody who was lauded across the world for doing something that people thought was almost impossible, to stop these loggers and these miners and these farmers from reaching deeper and deeper into the Amazon year after year after year. And for a while, Brazil was pretty successful. So all of this outcry leads Brazil to begin regulating and slowing this development. Another thing the government did was it started issuing some pretty stiff fines for deforestation and other environmental crimes.

And for a while, this had the intended effect. And one of the reasons Brazil was successful in reining in deforestation during this era is the economy was doing pretty well. So there were plenty of jobs in the city. And people were less tempted to venture deep into the jungle, where they faced the risk of fines. However, the good days came to an end. And in , the country plunged into a brutal recession. And what this meant was tens of thousands of men were suddenly unemployed.

And many of them were lured back into the jungle. Because there was money to be made. These were dangerous jobs. These were risky ventures. But for many people, it was the only way to put food on the table. Ernesto, so, a recession hits and deforestation is back on the rise. What does this mean for Brazilians? So around this time, many people who were being fined for violating environmental laws were refusing to pay and sensed that they could get away with it. And among them was a then-congressman, Jair Bolsonaro, who was allegedly busted fishing in a wildlife reserve.

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He refused to identify himself when the agents saw him. But the agent recognized him, took his picture, documented that he was in a wildlife reserve, and issued him a citation. House of Commons leader Jacob Rees Mogg was met with widespread criticism today after he announced they would be attempting to pass the key Brexit legislation in just three days. The new bill , made public for the first time this evening, is pages long, with pages of explanatory notes.

However, the plans could be hijacked by MPs adding amendments to the timetable, with Labour pushing for a vote on remaining in the customs union and a second referendum. No economic impacts, no economic assessments. Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews metro. For more stories like this, check our news page.