In response to the burning of the Amazon rainforest, environmental activists gathered in front of the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Aug. 26. The protest was designed to put pressure on Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro to stop the fires and protect the Amazon and the indigenous peoples who have been displaced.
Some describe rainforests as the “lungs of the planet” for taking in carbon dioxide, storing it in soils and producing oxygen. Without the world’s rainforests, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations would increase and contribute to higher global temperatures.
There are currently more than 75,000 wildfires burning in the rainforest throughout the country, an 80-percent increase over last year. Critics of Bolsonaro, who favors increased agricultural and mining development in the Amazon, claim that his government’s policy of encouraging deforestation has given his people a license to burn the land.
The demonstration at the embassy marked a D.C. appearance by the growing global protest movement Extinction Rebellion, known as XR. In April, XR blocked streets and bridges in London, demanding that the U.K. government adopt a more ambitious target for reaching net-zero carbon emissions. The group’s motto is “uprising or extinction,” noting that species are disappearing at a rate 100 times faster than ever before in the history of evolution.
On Sept. 20, there will be a call for for a global general strike “to demand a safe and survivable future.”
View Jeff Malet’s photos from demonstration at the Brazilian Embassy by clicking on the photo icons below.