Brazil’s Presidential Election Will Determine the Planet’s Future

Oct 27, 2022 · 111 comments
Frank (Boston)
Viva Bolsonaro!
Lucas (Brasil)
Take Lula and let him be the U.S president haha the guy was in jail for the biggest corruption scandal. Look our neighbors how they are living now, Argentina, Venezuela they presidents are all Lula’s friends. On the 30th we are 22 we are Bolsonaro !
Cesário (Aracaju/SE)
Reading the comments below, I can say some writers know nothing about brazilian reality. Bolsonaro fights for Brazil, for the sovereignty of Brazil, for brazilian people. Lula was found guilty for corruption by 13 judges and here everybody knows he fights fiercely only for his own pocket. Sorry for my bad english!
Olivia (NYC)
There is climate change as there has been since the beginning of our planet. Bolsanaro will win.
Jonathan (Boston)
Leave it to the NYT once again to create a bombastic headline to make THIS story, not yesterday's, the most important thing we'll ever read. I agree with some of the content here but I am so tired of the over-the-top language. OMG, here we have yet ANOTHER most important election we'll ever have coming right up. Please stop it!!!
Javier Baldrich (Baltimore)
Friendly reminder that 4 year don't cause a deforestation crisis. Can we get someone with credentials writing on what they understand?
Night Falls (CA)
I read that the Bolsonaro regime has a slush fund that has been effectively buying votes. Check the guardian. No wonder the first election appeared close.
Helpful Hannah 👄❤️‍🩹💋💋 (New York 🗽 💋👄👄👄)
It takes more than 1 man to save our planet according to the Star Track episode where O’Hurrah and Bones got stuck in an ancient alien cave. They needed Spock to figure out how to convert their transponders to electric detonators that got them out thru a cosmic blast. We need that now from a modern day 🖖 Vulcan 🖖 able to steer clear of distractions.
Anonymous RN (Far North)
Commodify the Amazon. Show the world it’s value and start charging for it!
Lucifer (Hell)
This was as true in 1982 as it is now....and it has only gotten worse in all these decades...
Antonio (Recife, Brazil)
I am a brazilian attorney (LL.M. at Pace University school of Law, NY) and there is a correction that should be made: the environmental federal agency in Brazil does not combat environmental crimes at all. It has not such competence by law. Instead, police departments have such competence, especially the state police departments. The federal police departments only act when there is a specific federal interest involved. Futhermore, most of brazilians want to protect amazon forest. Therefore, it is not true that Bolsonaro supporters are againts amazon preservation. The real theme on Brazil election, which divides its population, is corruption.
Kriss (Sydney)
Hey who cares their grandchildren will be right.As to their decendant maybe they can fix it. Political parties only work on 4year cycles no long vision.
Steve (Oregon)
I see Brazil as having such a great responsibility being the curator of the majority of the Amazon. So maybe the rest of the world should pony up, do more than the constant micromanaging and back seat driving. Many countries have already blown it, altered the environment in irreversible , unrepairable ways. So if Brazil still has something so critical, still savable, maybe we should treat them as so.
manfred marcus (Bolivia)
Saving the Amazon forest, a doable experiment if we could influence Brazilians in power to grant sovereignty to the Natives...while policing the forests and prevent its illegal exploitation, something that negligent Bolsonaro chose not to consider. Perhaps the world's wealthier nations may consider acquiring some rights as to pump resources into the Amazon...with the proviso/promise to save what's left. Climate Change is in play here, a world phenomenon fouling the environment due to human voracious consumption and exploitation. We can do better. Do we have the will?
DanC (Mountain West)
Our right to vote is on the ballots along with social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and prescriptions cost. A woman's right to choose is on the ballots. The attack on our democracy by a sitting president and the hard right fringe and the demands for justice are on the ballots. What kind of country we will be and our leadership in the wilder world is on the ballot. The inflation we are experiencing was preordained by the actions of Trump and his tariffs and embrace of Putin. The tariffs created the supply chain imbroglio and the embrace of Putin emboldened him to attack Ukraine. Honesty, morals, and probity are all on the ballots across the country. Country before the party, truth before lies, and democracy before any alternative...
Citizen of Boston (Boston, MA)
Brazilians are doomed with either candidates. It hurts my eyes to watch the NYT video; but a similar video could have been done with the other candidate that allowed the Amazon be cut down in similar rates when he was the president - except, he was not advertising it. BOTH current candidates do not care about the Amazon, they care about themselves. BOTH candidates are corrupt. BOTH candidates are a threat to democracy and can become totalitarians. BOTH candidates will be equally bad. It’s an illusion to think otherwise. The only difference is that one is crazy and far-right and the other is far-left and supports communist countries like Cuba and Venezuela. Which one is better for/to Brazilians? Would the US support yet another communist country in South America? Look at Venezuela and the high rates of illegal immigration to the US? How about Argentina with the new “far-left” president? Americans should be really aware of what we wish for… as much as I hate Bolsonaro, this article is superficial and only shows one side of the story. Good journalism allows readers to access information of both sides. I wish the NYT had put together a more informative analysis for us to understand what is going on with Brazil - and how a country that was doing so well 2 decades ago, cant keep up with the world market anymore. Part of the problem was 12 consecutive years with the corrupt far-left government of Lula. Again, do not expect they care about the Amazon; they simply DONT.
JT (Novo San Antonio)
"I don't want any gringo asking us to let an Amazon resident die of hunger under a tree. We want to preserve, but they will have to pay the price for this preservation because we never destroyed our forest like they mowed theirs down a century ago."
Shakti (Naperville IL)
It is already here, these are just the surface signs people are seeing, if they (choose to) look. You were already told, 15 yrs ago: James, Mark, "A House in the Woods: On the Evolution of Consciousness of Man, the Animals and the Earth."
Gabriel (Home)
What a distorted headline. Regarding CO2 emissions by country - China, United States, etc. Brazil ain't the problem.
Carol (No. Calif.)
@Gabriel Without the Amazon, we cannot stop lethal climate change. Brazil definitely IS a big part of the problem.
RickW (Bay Area, CA)
You’re ignoring how much co2 the rainforests soak up…..and how much they won’t soak up if the rainforests are plowed over.
Paul Smith (Austin, Texas)
What will happen to all the animals and birds living in the Amazon rainforest if it's destroyed and becomes arid savannah? We humans as a species destroy any ecosystem we can exploit. I'll be driving my Brazilian husband to Houston to vote for Lula on Sunday.
B Summers (Seattle, WA)
NYT should issue a correction: Brazil's Presidential Election Will Determine Humanity's Fate The planet will recover. We will not. We are in the process of figuring out whether we are worthy of evolutionary continuance.
Scientist (CA)
As consumers we're contributing to the Amazon's demise: eating meat and buying leather car seats and couches are huge contributors to clear trees for cattle farming. If all of us cut back a bit there's (some) hope.
Carol (No. Calif.)
@Scientist Also dairy. Let's all cut back on the milk, cheese & yogurt.
Rafael (Rio de Janeiro)
Under Lula presidency the Amazon burned and deforested more than on Bolsonaro's presidency. This is the hard truth.
Rick Olsen (Seattle)
If it happens, it's because humanity lets it happen. Seems preposterous that we'd let this happen. But we will. And who are we to point fingers - we did it ourselves. A very common refrain (and I have many years in Real Estate) is "that's the price of progress." Can't expect people trying to improve their lives & country to do different.
Ideologically Impure Liberal (U.S.)
Well, it’s the price if something, but I don’t think that something is progress. Developers and real estate agents aren’t in it for “progress.”
Arisa (USA)
I’m horrified for the future the world will endure. Why is the environment political? It shouldn’t be, we all depend upon it. Emperor Penguins were officially classified as endangered. Why hasn’t this been a head line? What is wrong with this world?
Mattie (Western MA)
@Arisa We do not have the imagination, much less the will, to get ourselves to a post consumption world. We humans will die out gorging ourselves on "stuff".
MS (Omaha)
@Arisa The polar bears are no longer endangered though, which is positive news. It turns out that the polar bears can adapt with the melting ice. The polar bears have surged back to population levels that have actually caused enough polar bear attacks/kills on the people who live next to the bears that the indigenous communities had to kill bears to quell the attacks.
Larry (Herndon, VA)
The planet will still be here after all the upcoming elections. Nothing will change. Life on the planet will go on irregardless of politics.
Carol (No. Calif.)
@Larry Not the same life; many species are rocketing towards extinction, thanks to us.
IZ (NYC)
Yes. For cockroaches little will be different.
LilaLeela (FL)
We cannot point fingers at Brazil when we destroyed our forests. Which by the way is why we are in this predicament.
parapraxis (Earth)
I don't understand why billionaires like Bill Gates to purportedly want to do good with their money don't buy up as much rainforest as possible and also pay to have it guarded. If we lose the rainforest we are doomed. Amazonian and Indonesian and African. We should be buying and preserving everything we can get our hands one, paying big money to these countries.
John (Mars)
@parapraxis Do you think Brazil is a banana republic? They are the 11th economy in the world and have the best army in forest combat. Brazil would never sell its rainforest land to any American.
T Smith (Texas)
This type of hyperbole is what fosters complacency. Additionally, if the premise of the piece is correct, you might as well throw in the towel place because this is definitely going to be a red wave election. But, I suggest you simply get real and accept the fact nothing we do is going to make India and China do anything and thus we need to focus on mitigation.
Miguel (Argentina)
A very very one sided story which seems like political propaganda. During Lula's presidency there was as much deforestation than under Bolsonaro's regime. Leaving aside the poor conditions of living of the indians in the region, where the focus on their well being is improving life conditions, something that nobody has done yet.
Hieronymous Bosch (Antarctica)
So sick of the phrase "will determine the planet's future." It is hysteria. And I say this as a (Malthusian) environmentalist. There are no hinge events that are going to doom/save the planet, like flipping a switch. There are just choices that will (arguably) make some things better or some things worse. The hysteria, narcissism and presentism of the doom/salvation narrative is as tedious as it is false.
Will Hogan (Washington)
I think the Middle East was forested once. Humans are amaziing at short sighted destruction. I feel like gluing my hand to a Dutch masterpiece whenever I think about it.
Scientist (CA)
@Will Hogan I'd join you : (
PNW (USA)
As a daily news consumer, this is the first I’ve heard of this - and it’s incredibly alarming. Doesn’t the world’s collective future belong on the front page, not the opinion section? Why isn’t the Times elevating this issue? Why aren’t other governments prioritizing their influence in this election, or promising intervention? It would seem we are all, on some level, climate change deniers.
Commie (Colorado)
Because the world has 2 choices, 1 is cooperation between all countries, as well as sharing of resources, to mitigate the unfolding climate catastrophe, or 2, which is to keep going with the destructive commodification of resources such as people, animals, plants and minerals. For some reason, most democracies are under attack from authoritarians, using xenophobia, hard, unyielding nationalism, religion, as well as a crackdown on a free press, sexual preferences + reproductive choices as tools to use democratic systems to fear monger voters into voting along those lines. All this translates into more corporate power, more fossil fuel burning and general environmental destruction. Hopefully the people of Brazil will choose a better, more livable future on Sunday, and US voters on 11/8.
Wendy (Irvine)
If loss of Brazilian rainforest is already causing droughts in Brazil and has the potential to impact California agriculture, that imperils the food security of the United States. Think about where your food comes from and what it really costs.
Ram (California)
Earth will hit back, finish both conservatives, liberals and any other timbaktus out there. We are on a destructive path. Greed will not end well.
Jenny (São Paulo, Brazil)
And there are journalists in Brazil saying that agribusiness doesn't promote deforestation!
Daylight (RI)
Bolsonaro and Trump should set up camp in the Amazon forest and live there as the crazy's the they are. If Trump is elected in 2024, this is what we will have to live, or die, with in the US. Sick people spell the end of Democracy. But they don't want Democracy, they want anarchy.
Rex Nemorensis (Los Angeles)
Hysterical titles such as “…Will Determine the Planet’s Future” (cue ominous music) simply make many people tune out. The world is full of trade offs and hydrocarbon fuels are a great blessing and a great curse. Maybe a little balance and a little less doomsday?
Carol (No. Calif.)
@Rex Nemorensis They're a curse. Definitely not a blessing. The title is not overstating the danger. Please wake up.
ML (Boston)
What will we tell our grandchildren? Yes, we were warned for decades but we were greedy and shortsighted and distracted by Twitter? Brazilian voters, US voters — do the right thing! We are out of time.
Jena (NC)
President Jair Bolsonaro no election advice here. All responsible gun owners will tell you never point or shoot a gun especially an automatic unless you are planning to kill. Killing voters never works out even if it is an accident. But neither does destroying the Amazon.
CA Reader (California)
Lula is a solid candidate who comprehends the stakes of the climate crisis—his conviction for "corruption" was overturned by the Supreme Court! Bolsonaro thought nothing of railroading his opponent into prison, and he is also perversely ready to literally take a giant match to the planet and incinerate our future.
Lucas (Brasil)
@CA Reader his conviction for "corruption" was overturned by the Supreme Court! ??????????? What are you talking about? Go read a little bit more about how he really get away from this and try to understand how Brazilian laws work IF they work haha because pretty much the whole thing was cancelled because they said oh no Lula shouldn’t be heard by this judges in this state he has to go to the DF and now because of his age he can’t go to trail anymore
Working mom (San Diego)
I never agree with the NYT on climate alarmism. Never. Except about this. 100% terrified of this.
Martin (Germany)
Watching this video, with the guns etc., I wonder: does anyone else remember Saddam Hussein firing his gun into the air during some celebration or party event? The image just sprung to mind,..
perfect iyf (Québec, Qc, Canada)
"President Bolsonaro is defiant in his desire to sacrifice the Amazon" What more do you need to know?
Jefflz (San Francisco)
The fossil fuel industry in the US is in the same camp as the abusers of tghe amazon. None of these greedy antisocial corporations have any regard for the environmental future of this planet. This goes to say that they don't even care what happens to their own descendants. Pathetic.
Ellae (Ashland Oregon)
This headline reads more like one on National Enquirer. Even though the article is a good one.
Analogue Girl (Anywhere More Civilized Than America)
New York Times: this utterly apocalyptic subject was not deemed worthy of that quaint reporterly medium formerly known as the written word? Some of us ‘Luddites’ (who aren’t, really) despair.
San Sam (California)
Really? The planet's future is at stake? Is the really the “last chance to save the Amazon?” If the wrong person is elected will there really be a “spiraling degradation from which there is no return?” This hyperbole is simply too much to bear. Agnes Walton and Alessandra Orofino may have very good points, and they seem sincere, but they and the New York Times risk losing people when they make assertions not intended to be understood literally.
Jill (CA)
I stand with Lula
stjohner (NH)
In 6th grade we put some paramecium in a jelly jar with some sugar. The paramecium merrily made more parameciums and more parameciums, until they ate up all the um...rain forest...and died. They hit the top of an S curve, and reached the carrying capacity of their... little glass planet. Even to a kid, it was clear we humans were parameciums, and the thing is we never talk about it: there are billions too many homo sapiens. If there were 7.98 billion rhesus monkeys on the planet, we'd say: too many monkeys. We're animals, but we need to stop breeding like animals. But yes, if Bolosnaro wins, the rain forest is toast, as are we hominids.
CaliforniaMan (Silicon Valley)
One of five (5) Doom and Gloom articles in the Times today mentioning Global Warming. Five. At a time when read disasters are taking place in Ukraine, in SubSaharan Africa, in Myamar - you'd think that IMAGINED fear scenarios would take a back seat. Not at the New York Times!
Carol (No. Calif.)
@CaliforniaMan Wow, another climate change denier.
Thomas Nascimento (São Paulo)
Hes not gonna win this election. Hes a clown! Help us posting for Lula to be elected in Brazil, is so important for us.
Mark (Taiwan)
Your headline for this article is raw sensationalism, a new low for the New York Times. For your information, the future of Planet Earth and of the Amazon forest does not depend on a run off election in Brazil this weekend. If it did, that would mean the New York Times is now the center of the Known Universe, with the prophetic insight of God. It isn't and you aren't. Surely my peace rests more with the the promises of the Bible than the outcome of Brazil's election.
faivel1 (NYC)
That is a real disaster coming at the accelerated speed. We are already witnessing it all over. And BTW Elon Musk: Elon Musk Visits Twitter as $44 Billion Deal Nears Completion https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/26/business/elon-musk-visits-twitter.html?searchResultPosition=4 Elon Musk came from South Africa where for years apartheid was usual business, now he wants the same here, he will bring back his orange BFF and will be spreading endless lies on this platform. People need to boycott twitter. It will be a venom for democracy. Our planet is in grave peril!!! I don't know if anything could be done at this point.
A Voz do Brasil (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Europeans are not more concerned about the Brazilian Amazon than Brazilians. Europeans do not care for life of any kind. European history, these are facts and facts are stubborn things . In modern times, the wars in Europe were their continuous reason for loss of lives: 4,000,000 people were killed during the Napoleonic wars (1799-1815), an annual average of 250,000 people killed, pretty much the same average of Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). During the First World War (1914-1918), the annual average of people killed jumped to four million people killed (total 16,000,000), mostly buried in mass graves. As the continent was devasted (and to manage the situation), they elected Hitler. After launching the World War II (1939-1945), the average number of people killed with European wars reached 10 million per year (total 60,000,000 of people killed), buried in mass graves, including six million people killed in an industrial scale, including unarmed women and children of their own population, incinerated, including 1.5 million children. Then the Americans and Russians invaded and occupied Europe. Nowadays Europeans send billions and billions of dollars to Russia to pay for have energy ... and American tax payers pay their taxes so that the United States can send billions and billions of dollars to Europe in aid to protect Europeans from Russia (!?!) And Europeans are still at war, burying people in mass graves. And Europeans want to lecture Brazilians on good behavior ...sure!
Lorca (Pocitos)
We can all just hope that such nice people do not re-elect a sociopath
Bh (Houston)
Disaster seems to be all around us at a time when the "perfect storm" of voter economic anger could tip us toward the life-destroying authoritarians in many places, Brazil and US included. We either vote to slow down the ecological and economic disaster, or we just give the final shove over the cliff. The next few weeks will seal our fate.
Anony (Not in NY)
If humanity is to conserve biodiversity, we must recognize that politicians will emerge in Brazil and elsewhere, hell-bent on profiteering through destruction. The proposal by the late E.O. Wilson "half-Earth" is almost self-explanatory: the world must make a binding commitment to live within limits on land-use conversion. François Mitterrand, President of France, said in 1989 ‘‘Brazil must accept relative sovereignty over the Amazon’’. Because Brazil won't, the analog is "World Powers must assert their relative sovereignty over the Amazon". If not now, when?
Etaoins Hrdlucm (Chicago)
@Anony Your second paragraph is nuts, and completely counterproductive. Instead of helping gain Brazilian cooperation in preservation of the Amazon, you are feeding the kind of paranoia that only benefits Bolsonaro. Are you not aware that he has spent years arguing that the world wants to take the Amazon away from Brazil and that only he can prevent it. In Portuguese, this is known as "um tiro no pé," or shooting yourself in the foot.
Beatriz (Brasil)
The article failed to mention that, during the government of the candidate and ex-convict, Lula, the Amazon suffered 30% more devastation than during the Bolsonaro government. In addition to the economic problems left by Lula due to the high level of corruption in his government. On the 30th we really only have one option, but it is not the one indicated in this article.
Joena (BRASIL)
@Beatriz I agree with you. It makes me very sad so much misinformation about the reality of our Brazil. About the Amazon and all corruption. The 14 years of PT and Lula's government were full of corruption and embezzlement scandals, it is necessary to remember the type of government that Lula has to offer. Lula is not the salvation of the Amazon or Brazil or the world.
Bob (Silver Spring, MD)
Deforestation was higher in Lula's administration, but his administration and Rousseff's reduced the rate of deforestation significantly. While deforestation under Bolsonaro is lower than the level back in 2003, the rates of deforestation are increasing vertiginously. We cannot pretend that Bolsonaro has been a better steward of the Amazon just as we just not pretend Lula is not a crook.
CarolinaJoe (NC)
@Beatriz Bolserano has his trolls, just like Trump.
M Ford (USA)
The United States is a net importer of lumber and paper products. By refusing to cut our own trees down to meet the demand for our country, we export deforestation to other countries. Brazil is cutting their forests down for us, and our kind. This is mostly a problem caused by the left. NIMBYism promoted by the Democrats exports strip mining, carbon production and environmental damage, mostly to countries of color. Trump imposed carbon and environmental damage tariffs on high destruction imports like steel, aluminum and manufactured goods from China. The Democrats were against it. What we need is to get sensible environmentalists like Trump and the Republicans back in office. It is the only hope that we have to see environmental damage taxes put on lumber and paper imports.
S (USA)
@M Ford A Only a tiny portion (3%) of the amazon is deforested for logging. Much of it is burned and almost entirely used for animal and subsistence agriculture. Paper is not the problem
WinstonSmith (The Hinterland)
Trump as an environmentalist? Have I been redirected to the Onion.com?
CarolinaJoe (NC)
@M Ford Yeah, right. Trump and environment? Really? Only in your dreams or if it pays him directly.
Rob Canada (Canada)
The core problem is that a true free market approach has not been enabled in Brazil. Had an unfettered and real free market approach been respected, then the Brazilian politicians would have offered the rainforest for sale or license to the highest bidder. Then groups such as a UN agency or a coalition of nations and / or of the hyper-wealthy could have driven the price beyond the means of the current loggers and agribusiness interests. The larger fraction of payments would of course have gone to the politicians (along with immunity from prosecution) and the remainder to Brazil. The successful bidder would then have acquired enormous future and long-term leverage over humanity. Short sighted Brazilian politicians have missed their opportunity and likely doomed our species’ future.
Mark (Taiwan)
@Rob Canada your species is not doomed, though if we had a real choice on the matter, I think the climate-denier species might actually survive the ones on the other side
Ben W (NYC)
Wars over the last 30 years in the Mideast and a large part in Putin's War... it's all about oil. In 50 years the oil market will have collapsed. The Middle East, Russia, will all descend into dystopian failed states. In 50 years, we'll all look back on 2022 and realize that the real World Conflict is over the Amazon. We lose it, the entire world suffers to even a greater degree than expensive oil... which sadly politicians survive or fail on. If there ever was a reason for "intervention" to save our planet... it's 2022. In Brazil. To save the Amazon.
Mark (Taiwan)
@Ben W the Amazon has a Caretaker bigger than all of us put together. He gives us instructions in His Word to be clean and good stewards of his creation. Without him, our efforts are good works, but you and I both know that "acts of God" are ultimately the only universal power. Climate Changers who are God deniers will ruin life for everyone.
Rajashekhar Patre (Bangalore, India)
@Ben W I agree with you totally. If the continued destruction of Amazon rain forest is allowed, not only Brazil but the entire world will suffer immensely as a consequence of that action.Leaders without clarity and lack of vision have made the humanity to suffer. Besides political corruption has caused much harm to the rain forest. With degradation of forest, there will be diminishing of fresh water and it will affect the rainfall pattern globally. So the coming Brazilian election will determine the future for all of us, as one president, Bolsenaro is not bothered with environment while his counterpart Luiz Silva is determined to save the forest at any cost. Leet us hope Silva wins the election in large numbers.
Wyatt Vargas (Terrace, BC)
@Ben W It is hard to imagine the size of the Amazon rain forest and the significance. I find comfort in knowing that life is resilient and people can do incredible things with determination, look at the Instituto Terra as an example of restoration. I think it is important to feel hope when really big things threaten us, such as losing the Amazon.
Steve Hunter (seattle,wa)
Conservatives seem to have a self destruct button that they keep fingering. In the past it has been held in check by the rule of law and community mores. But not so much anymore, each conservative politician whether a Bolsonaro in Brazil or a Donald Trump or Marjorie Taylor Greene in the US seems to get more outrageous by the day. I'm old so anything Bolsonaro may do will have little effect on my life but I fear for our beautiful planet and our young people, both deserve much better treatment. But those same young people can be our salvation, get out and vote, your lives depend upon it.
noplanetb (Duesseldorf, Germany)
Kudos to the NYTimes for this video, and most of all for featuring Txai Suruí, a hero and uniquely inspirational figure. If you're interested what the signs at the end of the video say, at the indigenous march to save the Amazon, the Pantanal, and the Cerrado - they want landgrabbing, genocide and (mostly gold) mining in Brazil to end. And there's actually a lot any one of us can do to save the Amazon, the Pantanal and the Cerrado and the indigenous people there, wildlife, nature and the trees that produce our water: Don't buy or invest in gold from the Amazon (or if you don't know where it's from, don't buy or invest at all). Don't buy exotic woods. Don't buy beef from deforested areas of the Amazon, or beef (or other meat or dairy) that has been fed with soy from there. And lobby for supermarkets to commit to only sell zero-deforestation fed meat and dairy (in the UK, the main supermarket chains Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have already done that). Save the Amazon/Pantanal/Cerrado, and it will probably save us, eventually.
Richard Blum (Cincinnati)
@noplanetb And how do I tell where the beef came from. Might as well say don't buy German cars because they burn coal there.
l rubin (sf, ca)
@noplanetb Agreed. Better yet, reduce signifyingly or stop consumption of beef and dairy. Better for your health, better for the planet.
MO19 (Atlanta, Ga)
I recall the remark that the Amazon is the planet's life-source for our lungs. Are some of the politicians in Brazil of a different opinion and if so, can they substantiate it? We should insist on it before he chainsaw gets activated.
Uzi (SC)
During my graduate years at MSU on natural resource economics in the 70s, I wrote a paper on the future of the Amazon rainforest. My thesis was if the forest was so essential for the planet's ecosystem, Brazil should receive financial aid to keep it untouched. My conclusion today is that environmental protection is a luxury good that even rich countries can afford during times of prosperity.
William Sterr (Washington State)
I found the opinion and video interesting and disturbing. However, I must take exception to one important part; "For many Brazilians, this will be a painful election between two deeply flawed candidates." Exactly what is deeply flawed about Lula? Nothing is mentioned in writing, and in the video there is a reference to one thing: his imprisonment for corruption - something that was overturned as fraudulent by the Brazilian courts. The fact that he was falsely imprisoned is NOT mentioned. It is this sort of "both sides do it" approach to journalism that is destroying faith in almost every aspect of public life.
Richard (Texas)
@William Sterr 100% agree; e.g., this journalistic tendency has long since been forced upon public networks by Republicans (who threatened to end all funding). The so-called fair and balanced "ethic" has been the ruination of NPR and PBS. They're a shell of what they once were.
Bob (Silver Spring, MD)
Give us a break. Lula's conviction was (rightly) overturned because of procedural issues, not because he was not guilty.
DC (OR)
@William Sterr This is JUST what I wanted to post -- thank you. Your last sentence says it all. I am almost done with NYT and other so-called "objective" sources because of this.
Blanche White (South Carolina)
Yes, a very important election much like our own. I would add that Brazil has poor soils and depends much on imports of food which, now, globally, is reduced due to the war and the worldwide uncertainty it has produced. Therefore, the next couple of years are going to be shaky for all. Regardless, Brazil's dependence on agricultural supplies from other countries can be used to encourage Brazil to prevent further destruction to their Country. In addition, Countries around the globe should create a policy to contribute to the protection of this global asset by supporting the existence of the Amazon as a climate control engine by offering to contribute funds to Brazil to protect their resource in a way that allows for cooperation and prevents extortion. I would propose something like a grand lease set up by the UN to support, in perpetuity, the health of the Amazon rainforest with said funds used for support of the Brazilian people.
From MA (Leominster, MA)
@Blanche White Brazil DOES NOT have poor soils! There are many sources that completely disagree with your information. For example: https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/international-markets-u-s-trade/countries-regions/brazil/ and also https://oec.world/en/profile/country/bra In 2021, Brazil had to import food for only 5.4% of its total consumption. Brazil is pretty much auto sufficient on agricultural products. The problem is simple: Brazilian government is destroying not only the Amazon but also the Cerrados to plant soybeans to enrich itself, regardless if the world is on fire.
Citizen of Boston (Boston, MA)
@Blanche White sorry, Brazil does NOT depend on other country’s for food supply.
Blanche White (South Carolina)
@From MA It can be seen, when digging deeper, that Brazilian soils require a lot of fertilizers which are going to be in short supply around the world. A lot of areas have high acid and aluminum content which has to he amended to produce. The soils of the rainforest itself degrade rapidly which leads to more burning to clear land to produce more crops and on and on ..... Therefore, agricultural prospects, in a world with limited supplies of fertilizers and high demand for them is a weak position to be in. Perhaps the material I have been reading is wrong. I am not a geologist or an agronomist?
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Transformation of the Amazon Basin from rainforest to savanna will probably be irreversible.
Question Everything (Highland NY)
Conservative politicians, be they Americans, Brits or Brazilians, are a scourge on our Earth. Conservatives allow our collective air, water and soil resources to be ravaged by deregulation in the name of voodoo free market economics. The outcome of unregulated and under-regulated business is profit taking that significantly damages our environment and human health. No nation has successfully instituted free market economics because it's not fair. Corporations function quite well under regulated capitalism. They make profits and pass on costs of mitigating environmental impacts as part the cost of providing goods and services. Case in point is oil & gas corporations. They said excessive regulations hurt competitiveness and led to needlessly high consumer prices. They said if environmental protection, worker safety and other government regulations were relaxed or eliminated that they would responsibility "self-regulate" and consumer prices would fall. Yet they always made tens of billions in quarterly profits during both bull markets and recessions. These same corporations also used some profit-taking to promote climate denialism. Environmental policy studies teach the "Tragedy of the Commons" where our collective resources are diminished without a governing entity because individuals function only in their own best interests with short-term vision. Free or deregulated markets are not fair markets. Deregulation and free markets accelerate climate change.
LEM (Boston)
@Question Everything a real free market would price in all externalities, such that activities that result planet destruction would have such a high price no one or entirety would do it. There is no such thing as a ‘free market’
l rubin (sf, ca)
@Question Everything Agreed. Despite record profits the world is still subsidizing FF corporations. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/31/fossil-fuel-subsidies-almost-doubled-in-2021-analysis-finds#:~:text=Subsidies%20that%20kept%20fossil%20fuel,record%20level%20of%20%2464bn.
Henrietta Snodgrass (San Francisco)
@Question Everything Agreed. Funny conservatives are always so liberal with our resources and our money. They always say they're conservative with money, then they lavish money on the already wealthy, through tax cuts for them, and bailing them out when they play some foolish game with other people's money. I can see them sitting around the card table of the world, fat and drunk and laughing, while plundering and ransacking what may our final chance at not having catastrophic weather that few people and fewer still animals will survive.
Walkin' Willie (Comic Book Land)
When I was younger, I looked to the older generations for guidance and leadership. Now that I am Medicare age, I realize that greed and the thirst for power NOW is the preference of the generation in charge - and i no longer look for their guidance much less their leadership. If Bolsonaro loses, we have only delayed the demise of the Amazon rainforest - another MAGA-Type nut job will come along in Brazil and finish the job. Regardless, the Brazilian election is existential so I don't know why it is a painful election for Brazilians. Seems like an easy choice to me.
MO19 (Atlanta, Ga)
@Walkin' Willie Exploitation of the planet is not a new discovery, it's now just highly visible and because billions of people enjoy the benefits, very difficult to subdue. Think of our own crop-bearing spaces in the mid west. They function superbly not because of the soil but because of the complex fertilizers pushed into it. The next generations may well have to think for alternatives. Given climate change, how indeed are we keeping them on the farm!
FunkyIrishman (member of the Liberal majority)
The same goes for the U.S., the same goes for Canada, the same goes for Europe, the same goes for everywhere. The point being of course, that we are all interconnected. OF COURSE, the Amazon rainforest is unique with its' mass and volume that affects the globe on a much larger scale, but we need to protect and conserve everywhere that we possibly can. Having said that, it will be critical how the world responds to this country if the election goes awry and the radical right claims power by manipulation or force. The world is watching.
ohthatpaul (Chicago, IL)
Like Bruce Cockburn noted in back in the 80s, the Amazon rain forest is the climate control center of the world, and if Bolsonaro wins, its destruction will be the destruction of our habitat. Our world is racing past red line after red line, past climate scientists warning "Do Not Pass" and "Game Over," and no matter what happens humanity hurtles towards catastrophe but it'd be a little easier if Lula wins and Bolsonaro loses and the great forest survives. Democrats and progressive Brazilians seem to be all that stand between us and disaster.
Scientist (CA)
@ohthatpaul As consumers we're contributing to the Amazon's demise: eating meat and buying leather car seats and couches are huge contributors to clear trees for cattle farming. If all of us cut back a bit there's (some) hope.
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