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ufexplore336 karma

this is a good question. It is true that there is a yearly fire cycle in Amazonia. this year fall within historical variability of the yearly fire count, but it is the worst since 2010, which suffered a very serious drought. So, there is cause for concern on those grounds, namely that the fires are very bad even though this year has not been a bad drought year (there was a mild El Nino that ended in July).

Something else to consider is the historical timing of the fires. A number like this would have had little consequence in the early 1980s, when much of the forest was intact. But now, with 20 percent gone, the effect of fire is to bring us ever closer to the environmental catastrophe of a "tipping point," the loss of the entire forest via conversion to fire-adapted scrub savanna.

ufexplore302 karma

we would have a tragic loss of biodiversity and indigenous cultures. agriculture in South America and into central North America would be harmed. poverty, disruption of hydro-ecological systems.

ufexplore282 karma

Dan is a fine scientist. I believe I would make his points as follows: the fires of today are a serious problem, yes, but they fall within historic variability, as there have been years with more, given fire is an agricultural technology used by ranchers and farmers alike in resource frontiers such as Amazonia. That said, today's fires are the worst since 2010, which occurred during a period of intense drought. So....the bottom line: fires have been a problem in the Amazon since its opening. They are more worrisome today given how much forest has been lost, and the prospects of an environmental catastrophe in the form of a "tipping point" disaster with the conversion of the entire biome into a fire-adapted scrub savanna. The new is not BS. It does lack context, however.

it's hard to know where to go for the info. the best place is to the researchers who work in the region, Dan Nepstad being one of them. I'm glad to be here today to offer my own impressions. I am glad you're asking this particular question which may be the most important: how do we really know what's going on here.

ufexplore181 karma

As a vegetarian you are doing as much as anybody can, because cattle ranching is the prime driver of Amazonian deforestation. If all became vegetarians, we would save much of the global environment.

ufexplore102 karma

Most of the Brazilian beef exports go to countries other than the US, given concerns about foot and mouth disease. However, there is an interesting corporate connection via companies such as JBS, the largest meat producer in the world (beef, chicken, pork, etc.) which has bought up a number of US corporations. In fact, JBS is active in Florida! Thus, US capital is implicated in the cattle economy of Amazonia, more than the US consumer. As you suggest, if people stopped eating meat, the problem deforestation problem would be greatly mitigated, but in that this is unlikely what can be done is to encourage, via our politicians, that Brazil simply adhere to its own environmental policies and protections, which are presently under attack by the Bolsonaro administration