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Reform Magazine | October 22, 2019

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A letter from… the Amazon

A letter from… the Amazon

Bishop Marinez Bassotto reports from the Amazon

We are facing the worst wave of fires in Brazil in seven years. For weeks, forests and woods have been burning in flames in the northern states, spanning Acre, Pará, Amapá, Amazonas, Rondônia, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, including areas of the Amazon and Pantanal. Four of these states (Acre, Amazonas, Amapá and Pará) are part of the Anglican Diocese of the Amazon.

The most unusual thing about this fire wave is that the large concentration of fires is happening right in the Amazon. In 2019, 52.5% of the outbreaks of fires in Brazil have occurred in the Amazon. These fires are increasing soon after the President criticised the National Institute for Space Research and dismissed its coordinator because the institute was alerting us to the resulting increase in deforestation and outbreaks of fires. The fires have already reached the triple border between Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, consuming more than 21,000 hectares of vegetation.

On 10 August, farmers from southern Pará state organised ‘Fire Day’ in the Amazon. During that weekend, burnings did not only take place in southern Pará state, it happened in many other areas of the Amazon, as a kind of positive reaction to the President. Dry weather and strong wind helped spread the flames…

Marinez Bassotto is Bishop of the Diocese of the Amazon. An edited version of this letter was first published online by the Anglican mission agency, United Society Partners in the Gospel. www.uspg.org.uk

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This is an extract from an article that was published in the October 2019 edition of Reform

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