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This week, Americans are discovering what the global south has known for some time. Fascist-leaning Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is presiding over the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
The shocking video and images of the Amazon burning have drawn some high-profile allies to the rainforest’s cause. One of those allies is Logan Paul.
amazon rainforest: how can i help? need advice on how i can actually make a change here; these pictures are breaking my heart... this is one of the most important ecosystems on earth. is there a fundraiser, a call to action, anything i can leverage my audience for on this? pic.twitter.com/s3RcbZbMr0— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) August 21, 2019
“[N]eed advice on how i can actually make a change here,” he tweeted.
The controversial YouTuber tweeted at his followers on Tuesday asking what steps he can take. Like many Americans, the images from the Amazon left him at a loss. Paul also shared the tweet in an Instagram story. As of Thursday morning, he had not yet revealed any plans.
Protecting the rainforest is a global matter of life and death. The Amazon is responsible for 20% of Earth’s oxygen. Under Bolsonaro’s regime, business interests have been prioritized over environmental protections, resulting in thousands of fires in the rainforest.
The fires could be just the beginning for the environmental woes resulting from the Amazon’s destruction. Scientists warn that passing a “tipping point” could lead the Amazon to devolve into a “savannah-like landscape,” dealing a massive blow to the world’s ecosystem. Global temperatures would rise even more quickly than they currently are if the world’s environment were to change so drastically.
While many Americans have focused on Venezuela as a U.S. target in South America, right-winger and Trump ally Bolsonaro has presided over a reactionary transformation in Brazil. Not only is the Amazon burning, but the Brazilian president is targeting indigenous groups, attacking LGBTQ protections, and overseeing an unprecedented increase in police violence. Bolsonaro has also worked to imprison his political opponents and has been accused of violence against dissidents.
What can be done about the Amazon is an open question. Traditional means of humanitarian assistance such as raising awareness or collecting donations will be difficult with the Bolsonaro regime in charge. The issue is further complicated by President Donald Trump’s alliance with Bolsonaro.
Like Paul, many Americans are feeling helpless and looking for some way to take meaningful action.
Brenden Gallagher is a politics reporter and cultural commentator. His work has been published by Motherboard, Complex, and VH1. He’s the co-founder of Beer Money Films, an indie production company. Based in Los Angeles, he works in television drama as a writers assistant.