“Nero fiddled while Rome burned.”
According to historians, in the year 64, as a six-day conflagration that decimated Rome began, Roman emperor Nero was at his Antium villa 35 miles away. He supposedly returned immediately to initiate relief efforts, but by then the already unpopular leader had lost people’s trust.
The part about him fiddling while Roman citizens suffered is probably apocryphal; however, the insouciance it conveys may be appropriate since some suspect Nero was behind the fires so he could clear land for his Golden Palace and “pleasure gardens.”
Fast forward 1,955 years.
There is a new Nero among us.
Their names are Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro.
“It’s not often you can pinpoint one person as the culprit for something on this scale, but the midday darkness is the direct result of the election of Jair Bolsonaro to the country’s presidency last year. Bolsonaro, who has told people, supposedly ironically, to call him ‘Captain Chainsaw,’ campaigned on the theory that his country’s economic development had been limited by the world’s affection for the Amazon, and he made clear that those who wanted to cut it down had little to fear from his administration. He even fired the head of the federal agency tasked with monitoring by satellite the extent of deforestation, when he found that deforestation was increasing.”
Because of its size and therefore capacity to absorb most of the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide, the Amazon is known as the “world’s lungs.”
Writers, environmentalists, historians, politicians, and documentary filmmakers have chronicled its destruction for decades.
What is happening to it now, though, could literally result in an accelerated planetary demise.
It’s that serious.
So serious, in fact, the United Nations is calling for imminent measures to protect it.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres tweeted:
“In the midst of the global climate crisis, we cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity. The Amazon must be protected.”
G-7 leaders currently gathered in Biarritz, France have agreed to an immediate $20 million aid package to assist in combatting the wildfires, and to initiate a global endeavor to better protect it.
Conspicuously absent from the participating nations’ talks was Donald Trump.
When asked about whether he planned on attending, Trump responded, “We’re having it in a little while.”
The meeting had already taken place, though.
French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed Trump was absent, but stated in attendance were some members of Trump’s entourage, who later complained to reporters that Macron wished to embarrass Trump by making the summit focus on “niche issues” such as climate change or gender equality.
In under nine months, the Amazon experienced 72,843 fires.
Jair Bolsonaro vowed in January to clear the Amazon for farming and mining.
In addition, leaked documents show Balsonaro intends to target enough hate speech toward minorities, specifically indigenous Amazonian tribes, the Brazilian people will turn against them and support the government’s destruction of the rainforest.
As reported in Common Dreams:
“Part of the government’s strategy of circumventing this globalist campaign is to depreciate the relevance and voices of minorities that live in the region, transforming them into enemies.”
We know by now that flattery is Donald Trump’s Achilles’ heel.
At a joint press conference at the White House in March, the Brazilian president praised Trump and their shared messages when he said:
“May I say that Brazil and the United States stand side by side in their efforts to ensure liberties in respect to traditional family lifestyles, respect to God, our creator, against the gender ideology or politically correct attitudes and against fake news.”
“The end result was something the whole world was talking about.”
These two men are emblematic of the destruction unfettered crony capitalism is wreaking on the environment.
Nothing will escape climate change’s ravages.
International borders, economies, food and water supplies, health, education, transportation, energy sources, and, yes, even democracy, are all predicted to change with the climate as the planet warms faster than scientists predicted.
According to Michael Mann, esteemed Pennsylvania State University professor and director of the Earth Science Systems Science Center, the IPCC’s assessment is actually conservative, underestimating the amount of warming that has already occurred.
We actually have less carbon left to burn if we wish to avoid the 1.5-degree Celsius threshold the IPCC report cites.
We have already passed too many tipping points to avoid some of the climate’s most devastating effects, and many scientists theorize the world has begun a sixth mass extinction.
We need to support aggressive climate-change policy, like the “Green New Deal” Democrats are touting as part of their agenda to help right our current trajectory.
We need to take the fossil-fuel industry head-on.
As long as there is a profit motive, there will never be sufficient action to curb carbon emissions.
It only means the future of our planet, our children, grandchildren, and beyond.
Once it’s over, it’s over.
Image credit: www.brasildefato.com.br