Amazon’s devastation rate has increased to two football pitches per minute. Award-winning photographer Daniel Beltrá tries to stop the development by showing the beauty of the horrible.
As the sun warms the tropical rainforest, damp steam rises into the atmosphere and forms rain clouds. In a single day, the water is converted to make the Amazon the world’s largest rain machine. If this relationship is disturbed, the water cycle is interrupted.
During the half-year that right-wing nationalist Jair Bolsonaro was Brazil’s president, he has shown that he does not care about the impact of the rainforest on the climate. He says that countries such as Sweden, which only have 0.5 percent of their forest forest, do not have the right to ask Brazil to stop harvesting their rain forest.
Instead, the pace of deforestation has increased. Already last year, when it became clear that Bolsanaro would win the presidential election, the disruption increased by almost 14 percent over the previous year. During July, felling had increased by 278 percent compared to the previous year. This is the highest increase since the measurements began in 2014. The same summer, the largest number of fires was measured in ten years. At most, it burned in 80,000 places in the Amazon. That’s more than twice as much as last year.
The Amazon rainforest measures 7,000,000 square kilometers and is about the same size as Australia. Only twelve percent of the Amazon ecosystem is protected by nature reserves.
Brazil’s Vice President, General Hamilton Mourão, has said that “the climate debate is being used by the rich world
to continue to dominate. ”According to environmental organizations, deforestation has increased by 20 percent this year.
Last year, the world lost twelve million hectares of rainforest. It is an area almost as large as England. The affected rainforests are found from Brazil to West and Central Africa, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The rainforest once covered 14 percent of the earth’s surface, today the figure is only six percent.
Once the rain forest trees have been destroyed, new plants cannot be planted, as there is insufficient nutrition in the soil. The only thing the soil is good for is agriculture, unless the soil is fertilized.
The Amazon River contains more water than the world’s seven largest rivers together ..
Spanish photographer Daniel Beltrá, who last year won the World Press Photo award for his Amazon series: A Threatened Paradise, is known for his ability to show the awful through the beautiful. He struck through the world with his pictures from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 where he photographed white pelicans soaked in oil.
– I am a rather hardened photographer who has worked for many years at the Spanish news agency EFE. I think I got tired of just taking pictures of horrible things. People switch off so easily then. In order for a picture’s message to really progress, it must also be beautiful. You could say that I use it beautifully to tell it awful, he says.
Daniel Beltrá lives in Seattle, USA, and has made about fifteen trips to the Amazon. The latest developments scare him.
– I’ve lived with Trump for several years. Living under Bolsonaro must be the same. His policy against the Amazon is devastating for humanity.