Some Good News: Amazon Destruction at Record Low

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Ben Cohen
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Amazon Rainforest created by משתמש:בן הטבע

As we all know, the global environmental outlook isn't exactly great - temperatures are rising, eco systems are being destroyed and species disappearing at a frightening rate. But it isn't all doom and gloom, as Brazil's new deforestation legislation appears to be slowing down the overall rate of destruction of the Amazon. From the BBC:

The destruction of Amazon rainforest has reached its lowest level since monitoring began 24 years ago, the Brazilian government says.

Environment minister Izabella Teixeira said it was thanks to government action against offenders.

Figures show the rate of deforestation fell 27% in the year to July compared with the previous 12 months.

Even so, more than 4,600 sq km (1,780 sq miles) of rainforest have been lost in a year.

"It is the lowest deforestation rate since Brazil began its monitoring," Ms Teixeira told a press conference.

"I believe that it is the only good piece of environmental news."

Critics point to the data from the National Institute of Space Research as being incomplete as it shows numbers for a period of time before the government introduced recent changes to Brazil's forest protection code that they say could reverse the trend. Teixeira and the Brazilian government dispute this, but do note that while overall rates were down, states that hadn't adopted stricter measures saw a rise in deforestation:

In Acre there was a rise of 10%; in Amazonas 29% and in Tocantins 33%.

"Regrettably we have noticed that in states that didn't have an aggressive level of deforestation there has been a rise," Ms Teixeira said.

It's clear from the data that legislation and regulation is vital in order to protect our natural environment, particularly the Amazon rainforest that produces 20% of the world's oxygen and is a major absorber of CO2 - vital to maintaining sustainable global temperatures. The decrease seen in Brazil, South America's biggest country, is certainly nothing to get excited about, but it is a start.

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