The Amazon isn’t “Burning” – It’s Being Burned

The Amazon isn’t “Burning” – It’s Being Burned


good morning John so I’ve seen a bunch of tweets for the last few days I’m pretty angry which you know makes it exactly like every other few days in the last few years but in this specific case it was tweets like these the Amazon rainforest is seeing a record number of wildfires large swaths of the Amazon rainforest are burning fires are raging the Amazon region is burning now mostly this comes down to like a problem I have with reality which is that there’s just too much of it and thus it is very hard to be aware of all of it and so we end up with things that are incomplete making their way into our brains but if there’s anything we should be aware of it’s this cuz you know future of the planet at stake and stuff like that so why do I not like these tweets well because here in America where I live usually if there’s a wildfire it was an accident and sometimes fires are okay because fires are a normal part of our ecosystems in America and sometimes they were done on purpose by like criminals who the government wants to arrest so when you read these headlines as an American you think oh no a fire happened I hope someone’s trying to put it out but in the Amazon fire is not a natural part of the ecosystem and because of that many trees in the rain forest can’t survive what we would in the u.s. consider a trivial burn these fires are not natural they are intentional this isn’t intentional like it’s arson it’s intentional like this land is more economically productive when we graze cattle on it than when it’s the rain forest so the headline here shouldn’t be large swaths of the Amazon are burning it should be large swaths of the Amazon are being burned now sometimes in the dry season which we’re in right now there are natural wildfires in the Amazon and in fact the number of natural wildfires appears to be increasing because here’s a thing about the Amazon and other rainforests with plenty of water and plenty of sunlight the ecosystem is really good at using everything that comes its way that means that most of the water that falls is immediately released back into the atmosphere by this tremendous amount of vegetation photosynthesis gets done when water evaporates out of plants a single tree can evaporate more than 50 thousand gallons of water per year and once that water is back in the atmosphere it falls again rainforests don’t just thrive on rain they make rain so when there’s less rainforest there’s less rain and more fires that’s not the real reason there’s so many more fires this year it’s not hotter than normal it’s not drier than normal the thing that changed in Brazil is who the President did the moment he was elected I air Belson ro rolled back environmental protections in Brazil earlier this month he fired the head of Brazil’s national space and Research Institute after he defended data showing that deforestation had grown 40 percent in the last year Bolson ro says that figure is wrong and the deforestation is down that’s a lie when asked why there are so many fires this year bull Sonora said that maybe environmental organizations are setting them to make him look bad that is also a lie but this isn’t just like pure malice and like love of destruction there’s an ideology here there’s the economic part of it which is just that there’s a lot of value in the rainforest and no one’s making any money off of it if it’s just being rainforests and then there’s sort of an ideological thing of like the civilizing interest of man we must bring our superior way of life to this wild jungle racist manifest destiny kind of stuff so to make the money you encourage legal logging and farming you reduce inspections reduce regulations and you ignore illegal land grabs where forest is slashed and burned and then seeded with grass and sold the ranchers there’s also another piece of the ideology here that I think is really interesting reality is that most of the good that the Amazon does is for everyone it produces oxygen for everyone it traps co2 for everyone it preserves biodiversity for the whole world but Brazil isn’t getting paid for any of that stuff far-right perspectives ultra nationalist perspectives don’t really allow for stuff that helps everyone it goes against this ideology that the nation is for the nation only and here’s where this gets super wild the fact that the rest of the world cares so much about the Amazon rainforest isn’t perceived as a reason to protect it it’s perceived by these people as a threat it’s like a claim on their sovereignty it’s it’s thought of as internationalisation after all like legitimately what right do i as an American I have to tell Brazil what to do with its rainforests in America we have DeForest did everything we can so our interest in protecting it actually becomes a reason for some people to want to destroy if you live in a world where everything is a zero-sum game why should anyone else benefit from our property and then there’s the reality that the Amazon is not as we sometimes imagine it empty there are many indigenous people other people who live and work in the forest and who rely on the forest for their livelihoods but those people are often not seen as real Brazilians by these nationalists nationalism is an inherently exclusionary ideology and that’s why fascism nationalism and racism so often walk together here’s the thing of course if the if the Amazon rainforest was a hundred percent pasture land and soybeans that would not just be a disaster for the whole world it would be even more of a disaster for Brazil itself see how hot it is in northern Africa that’s actually farther away from the equator than Brazil is Brazil receives more solar energy than Saudi Arabia but because of the rain forest it is much more cool this is the effect of that evapotranspiration the rain forest makes rain if there is less of it it is clear that it would be hotter and drier and these man-made fires or even the natural ones will spread on their own leading to a feedback loop that could end the Amazon and 70% of the GDP of South America is made in places where Amazon rainforest rain falls even here in America again internationalization for you much of the rain that falls here is a vapo transpired in the Amazon rainforest and an important note when I talk about rain falling really what I’m talking about is agriculture I’m talking about food we eat that rain there’s a lot of talk about tipping points and I think it’s important to note that there are always many tipping points along the path to something being completely destroyed but yes there is a time when less and less water falls in the rain forests and fires happen more and more often and there is a time where we lose most if not all of the Amazon and it’s why we have science to warn us about stuff like this so that we can take action and it’s why we have human rights to protect people whose land is their land whose life is their light but it is all too easy to deny stuff like this when you have more of an allegiance to your ideology than you do to the truth and that is something that I like to try and say to myself constant it’s why we need to call a lie a lie no matter who says it it’s why we need to say that the rainforest is not burning it is being burned John I’ll see you on Tuesday obviously this is a big and complicated thing and this is a short video so I’ve linked to a bunch of other resources the article in the intercept from a few months ago that basically predicted all of this was my favorite resource for this but there are lots of other smart people talking about it and it seems like people are having a better idea of what exactly is going on and why it’s happening so and I guess thanks for caring about this because because that’s a big deal and it is the only way we have slowed this in the past

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100 thoughts on “The Amazon isn’t “Burning” – It’s Being Burned

  1. CORRECTIONS (Because of course)
    1. I just said the widely-shared fact that the Amazon produces 20% of the world's oxygen without checking. This is not correct, and I should have checked it. The question of where the oxygen comes from is a complicated and interesting one and, frankly, I'd like to make a whole video about it. A good estimate is that the Amazon produces about 6% of the world's oxygen. Which still seems like an important amount.

    2. The cat I show in the video is a jaguarundi, that's not a correction…just something lot of people asked about.

    3. There's a lack of clarity in statistics right now, this isn't because scientists are bad, it's because the dry season is on-going and there are more fires every day and existing fires grow. So when we say "there are 88% more fires than last year* that doesn't necessarily mean "88% more land has been burned" nor is that number set in stone. Figuring out exact numbers from this year's fire season will take a long time because, like, the Amazon is very big and humans have to draw shapes on satellite maps.

  2. Big business like the Norwegian giant Hydro that used "clandestine untreated effluent discharge piping" in a set of Muripi river springs and many other countries exploring and mining the amazon.

  3. Both sides of my great-grandparents had to Deforest the Southwest in order to make the fields to grow food. We are Native but have been thrown aside. This is a repeat in history. Hold onto your land! Fight or all is lost to the privlidged undeserving people who profit in many ways from this loss of life.

  4. America needs to save the Tongrass rainforest from Drumpf Inc. They are set to destroy one of our rainforests for logging, mining and gas company profits.

  5. I feel like you should’ve studied more not only about this issue but also about the role politics play in it and the narratives that are being out there.. You repeated the same fallacy as Macron when you said the amazon is responsible for 20% of the production of oxygen in the world. Scientists estimate most of the oxygen that is produced by the rainforest is consumed by the forest itself due to the decomposition process.. Also, it’s virtually impossible for the rainforest to catch on fire due to all the humidity and lack of inflammable material.

  6. "There has never been a greater reminder that nationalism is a disaster of an ideology, "

    So are communism, socialism, fascism.

  7. I wouldnt mind tax going up slightly for all Americans that goes towards Brazil preserving the rainforest. I want to help, but im too broke to donate a significant amount.

  8. SO much of this wrong.

    Of course, casually bring up the NGOs doing it and not really rebuking it, but instead just call it a racist manifest destiny. Maybe do some research. But amazing job somehow making the rainforest issue about racism??? That takes a true talent of stupidity.

  9. STOP eating the beef that fuels this maniac system and do your part to change this world… Be wise.. Peace to all of you

  10. Damn, Hank.

    This was a powerful video. It has inspired me to look into this subject. If what you're saying is true, then I'd go further and say it's a truly great video.

    Sadly, I know that what you're saying about deforestation in the US is true, and forests aren't the only ecosystems we're losing. Back in the 90s, Illinois ("The Prairie State") had less than three square miles of prairie left in it. That's less than the land area of some golf courses I've seen in the suburbs of Chicago.

    You're right to be angry.

  11. how about u cover the paradise, California. directed energy weapons burning the hell out of everything. wake up. firemen witnesses confirmed the incident. that would actually be an interesting video. think critically, stop being such a mainstream shill.

  12. someone made another video on this, so im sure many people already know about this, but basically there is a load of controversial politics going on in Brazil at the moment. Basically the entire “Amazon Apocalypse” thing is just an attack on the new president to make him look bad. Also, according to statistics, in 2003 the fires were even worse, yet it wasn’t a big topic then, so that is really something to think about. So yeah, we are extremely likely to survive. This just further suggests why you shouldn’t believe everything you see on the internet.

  13. A few moments 'fact checking' would've made you realise that you were in way over your head on this one. Sensationalism may bring more subscribers your way, but it's not honest nor honourable.

  14. Its insanity that we all aren't up in arms about this . This literally could mark the end of the human race on earth. Secondly the UN nations should all compensate the Brazilians in order to protect the rainforest and like wise eco crucial nations.

  15. The amazon is being burned for cattle farming, if u eat beef then ur burning the rainforest. Watch this https://youtu.be/AMZsg4ZKmpQ

  16. Balsanaro needs to be taken out. Enough said. Who ever does this is a hero for humanity and every other living thing on this planet. He's pure evil.

  17. I feel like I’m watching the library of Alexandria burn. Thousands of years later and we’re still lighting fires, destroying all that is pure and good in this world.

  18. Tbh I don't entirety blame them. In fact all currently developing countries that are causing mass pollution and are biggest contributors to global warming are simply following capitalistic steps of younger USA. Globalism changed everything and we can't expect third and second world countries to just stay tribal, poor and backwards for some greater good of mankind after we've introduced them to comforts of our culture and way of life which btw started through cheap workforce and massive industrialization with little to no regard for nature. It's a hypocrisy that borderline angers me. Same way Germany ruined economy and energy industry of most new EU members by demanding clean and eco-friendly alternatives to coal plants which was simply a bad move for countries with lower GDP just so Germans could go back to burning coal themselves when it turned out to be more cost effective, with little to no regard to now completely infective and budget draining energetic industries of Eastern Europe that ended up paying more for electricity than supposedly more expensive to live in countries in Western EU.

  19. Apparently you don't understand politics. Allow me to explain… "Politics" is the art of exaggerating an issue in order to provoke public outrage so that regime change can be justified. Therefore, you are obligated to celebrate those who stand up for your cause, lucrative or otherwise (seldom otherwise).

  20. This is all part of the NWO plans. This will set precedent to enforce global laws to allow the UN eg to manage such natural resources instead of the countries. The resources managed by transnationals companies in corrupted countries are endangered of political shifts. This further step along with the Vatican involvement will secure the natural assets. Nationalisms will not be allowed, starting 1945 ashamed Germany.

  21. Sorry, who are you? We don't know all the facts about the amazon, but the general information we DO have is pointing that these claikms are false.

  22. I live in Oregon, I'm really tired of people acting like we are destroying the world when we replant so thick we have to thin, soon its going to go all up in fire! 🙁 everyone is so up in it like its hour doing its just not true!

  23. What, you think Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro's Nationalist tendencies are racist? Jain Bolasnaro is the President of Brazil and therefore the most Brazilian you can get!! If You don't like something Bolsanaro is doing then YOU MUST BE RACIST AGAINST BRAZILIANS HANK GREEN!!! There is no way that someone that inherently Brazilian can have an opinion that is anti Brazilian or against the will of the people!!, If that were true then there would be strikes, disruption and unrest around the whole country; well except for the people who don't have the luxury of being able to strike without loosing their job or the income that is necessary for them to survive. And no I don't mean the strikes, disruption and unrest around the whole country that is going on now, that was obviously in response to the whole worlds racist remarks suggesting that the president is letting the rain forest be burned for profit rather than the country's actual interests. They were just so quick to protest that it might have seemed to some that the protests came before the comments but trust me the comments came first.

  24. I fucking called this. The first day it was on the news someone was like hey the Amazon is on fire, and I said yeah Balsonaro probably set it on fire to clear the land for capital investment.

  25. Look at the charts in the NY times article about the amazon fires.. It's clearly visible that a far larger area of the amazon was burning down in the 2000-2010 decade compared to now.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/24/world/americas/amazon-rain-forest-fire-maps.html

    Examine this carefully, look at the DATA, and make up your own mind.

  26. The Amazon has a burning season. 80 percent of the rainforest in Brazil has been preserved for 500 years. It's not burning more than usual.

  27. I don't get why you assert nationalism/etc. is synonymous with apathy for the environment. I just don't see it that way, and while your interpretation is a valid one, it's only one of many interpretations in my mind. Deforestation could be seen as destroying what is sacred to the Brazilian nation for the economic gain of international corporations, or an enemy of Brazilian nationalism. Just one of a number of possibilities.

  28. More ppl need to speak up on this. Thank you for calling out media bias and Bolsonaro’s regime I thought ud just dance around it tbh

  29. This is something I said last week. They're burning it on purpose. Mining companies want to mine gold & have hired logging companies to go in & clear land. Indigenous peoples are fighting the invasion & a week ago the mining/ logging people marched into a village to the elder leader & buried a knife into his chest. To break up the tribes they are murdering the tribal elders. He's dead. It's a genocide issue. They're murdering the Amazonians. For land, for gold, for profit. They're totally uninterested in the jungle that is hundreds/thousands of years old. They'd kill God, too, if they could. If there's profit to be made from it…. Good work, good vid.

  30. richard dawkins must have creamed his pants when autoritarian nationalists started emerging in the world.
    "the selfish gene applies to the rest of the world!"

  31. It’s a shame when common folk who want to keep our planet from disaster can’t do much to prevent these tragedies. All we can do is take a seat and watch the .1% take it away for profit.

  32. I've never wished death upon anyone, but when Bolsonaro got stabbed I was happy because I thought it would keep him out of the race. And I mean god damnit, we were so close to stopping him, but not close enough

  33. It's not the worlds lungs it's like the worlds air conditioner it helps keep the planet cool https://relay.nationalgeographic.com/proxy/distribution/public/amp/environment/2019/08/why-amazon-doesnt-produce-20-percent-worlds-oxygen

  34. The fires will be a massive blow to our planet, yes, but the rainforests doesnt actually produce even a percentage of the air we breathe. Most of our oxygen comes from plankton in our oceans.

  35. First there was Baking Soda..then Suboxone..now Marijuana Legalization..Now the starving indians are fleeing over our borders and burning their labs you dope !

  36. As a Brazilian, I thank you for shedding a light on the reality of this problem. A reality that most people seem to ignore.
    This radical nationalism has been a real disease in my country and throughout the world.
    No one could have explained it better. Thank you once again Hank.

  37. Now that we know that Bolsonaro doesn't care, we can do something about it in our own countries. We being inactive and expecting immediate action from Brazil is hypocritical in my opinion.

  38. We want a better economy, so we destroy huge forests. A century later there would be no use to a "good economy" cuz we need actual people to use one. We can choose between gradual growth with being alive, or fast development with imminent suicide.

  39. The problem is that they can’t problem profit from “oxygen” and “biodiversity”, so they feel that it doesn’t need to exist.

  40. I dont know what to say 🙄

    Then future generations will keep thinking as always, why idiots of past behaved like this created such blunders for us, doing the same things themselves ruining their future, untill it stops someday, eventually.

  41. The Amazon isn't "Burning", there are just many fires! No way is this year any record as there has been worse years by far and Brazil's Government is not the cause. People should be much more concerned about Geo-Engineering and ocean pollution as this affect the world food chain directly!

  42. Yep because its a rain forest, can we use fighter jets to put out the fires with bombs filled with flame suphicating liquid or powder thats beneficial for the ecosystem…..dirt.

  43. 0:55 I know a guy who would say the government hired them
    He also went to public school from daycare to community college
    They somehow taught him this in the mix of shit

  44. What are the solutions? Clearly rich countries saying "We've destroyed our forests and made a killing, but you shouldn't" isn't working. Can world governments come together and pay Brazil, Columbia, Peru etc $$ for conservation of their forest land (for global good?). Worth pondering.

  45. Legal que os apoiadores do Bolsonaro estão falando merda em outros idiomas também. Nice to see Bolsonaro sup talking shit in english as well.

  46. The Amazon is a clear example of the commons. Added to the difficulties to resolve usage disputes is the fact there are farmers that own the property and, as owners, have the right to utilize their property for their own interests others be damned.

  47. Saying that your a faciest racist if your a nationalist is the problem. Your downplaying the words and give them no meaning. Being a nationalist doesn't make some racist. Being a racist makes someone racist.

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