OPINION: Choosing To Ignore… At Our Collective Peril

Deforestation is often a precursor to fires in the Amazon 
(Photo: CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Amazon area in the South American continent has for many years been considered by geographers, scientists, and naturalists, as being that part of the world which, by means of its intense vegetation, forests, rivers, wildlife and general ecological structure and biological diversification, most contributes to the world’s climate balance. 

Over the last twenty years that part of the world has lost 200,000 square kilometers of its “nature” character as ever more businesses and capitalists have rampantly continued to cut down forests, eliminate natural habitats, stolen water sources, and enacted other disasters to purely further and expand their business interests.

200,000 sq km is around two-thirds of the total land size of Germany, almost 2.5 times the total size of Austria, 1.5 times the total size of Italy, 625 times the total size of Malta… and the paragons can continue endlessly.  All meaning that if the Amazon’s current extinction rates proceed unchecked then – in fact – several countries of the world run a real risk of total extinction, whilst in the case of others, it will be a case of close-to.

And still one continues to come across so many irresponsible individuals, personalities (see e.g the former US President Trump), and indeed also whole governments of some big countries, e.g. China, the US, India, and to a certain extent also the EU, who openly continue to refuse to come together and, in a totally unified and concorded manner, accept to devise policies and actions that will indeed force recalcitrant countries – such as in fact the nations embracing, and bordering on the whole of the Amazon area itself – to change policies and action courses drastically.

Both the Paris (COP15) and Glasgow (COP26) meetings of world powers about climate change have come and gone. The first carried “some” hope, the second was close to a “rinse down”. Many attentive observers of the attitudes, mannerisms, and contents of declarations, of so many of those present at Glasgow, came away totally demoralized that there exists any real wish amongst governments to reverse trends. To take Malta, for example, it made no commitment whatsoever that it would reverse the present trends of ever more take-up of open land for building and construction. 

But it isn’t only governments who are to blame for this ever deteriorating world situation. Businesses, and particularly big ones like banks and multinationals who continue to finance certain types of road and buildings projects, or even outright deforestation policies or projects, these too are profiting from governmental inaction and continuing to wreck disaster on the whole of our world.

Some experts are holding that 2030 is the target year when the clear and open effects – disasters – from deforestation (often driven by the excuse of promoting agriculture) and biodiversity loss, will start being clearly seen and suffered in ever more countries of the world.  Will the United Nations, and some of its leading organisations like e.g. the WHO and FAO and others, then suddenly wake up and start imposing sanctions on nations that refuse to decide and act in some way that current trends will be reversed?

But will that then be yet another case of too late and too little? How many low lying countries, (Nauru et simila), will in fact have totally vanished by then?  How many millions of people will die in tsunamis, droughts, forest fires, tornados, plagues and pandemics, famines, and all of the other disasters that such inaction will inevitably have as its consequences?  

Scientists fear destruction of the Amazon may push it beyond a point of no return, when it can no longer sustain itself and dries out into savannah