Burning the Rainforest

Dear Friends,

Over the past few weeks, unprecedented melting in Greenland and the Arctic has dominated news stories about the escalating climate crisis. This week, attention shifted to the tragedy unfolding in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.

Wildfires in South America, including the Amazon rainforest of Brazil, on August 20, 2019. (Photograph: VIIRS/Suomi NPP/Worldview/NASA)

Brazil has had more than 72,000 fire outbreaks so far this year, an 84% increase on the same period in 2018, according to the country’s National Institute for Space Research. More than half of them were in the Amazon.”

“It is unclear which fires have been deliberately set by farmers to clear land and which were accidental or natural.”

But observers within Brazil insist that the fires are largely the result of “poor oversight and tacit encouragement of illegal forest clearance.”

Indeed, Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, in a page out of our own President Trump’s playbook, sought to blame the fires on environmentalists (NGOs). Yesterday, Bolsonaro said:

“On the question of burning in the Amazon, which in my opinion may have been initiated by NGOs because they lost money, what is the intention? To bring problems to Brazil.” (excerpts from an article in The Guardian)

Climate bird dogs (and penguins) line the back wall at an Elizabeth Warren rally in Newton. Pictured from left to right, Tory Church, Parker Creech, Samantha Kuhn, Kathy Byrnes, Marty Monroe, and Doug Fuller.

I struggle with the appropriate and most effective call to action in response to the destruction of the Amazon. My best advice to Iowans is to stay the course that we’ve charted and continue to raise climate in every conversation with a presidential candidate.

With Energy Transfer Partners wanting to double the flow of oil through the Dakota Access Pipeline, here’s a question Bold Iowans have been asking candidates recently:

One of President Trump’s big supporters, Kelcy Warren, is the owner of Energy Transfer Partners (ETP). His company’s pipeline, the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), transports 570,000 barrels of oil across Iowa each day. President Obama cancelled DAPL only to have President Trump reauthorize it after he took office. Now ETP wants to double the flow of oil to 1.1 million barrels per day. If we’re serious about climate change, we have to say no to fossil-fuel projects like this. Will you go on record and speak out against expanding DAPL?

Thanks again to all who’ve talked with presidential candidates during this mad rush of activity the first half of August. Bold Iowa has been so inundated with feedback that we’re behind posting comments, photos, and videos. As we catch up, you’ll find some material on the Bold Iowa Facebook page and a more comprehensive compilation on the Bold Iowa website. Scroll down to “Candidates,” then click on the specific candidate to see how they’ve been responding. Thanks!

Ed Fallon