Human beings have always altered the environment, but today it is in the nature of facing a new enemy, in the hands of humanity. The power of social media and the Internet have revolutionized our lives in many positive ways, but it also has a dark side. The same technological tools that have become the weapons used to spread misinformation and to influence elections, they must now focus on our natural world. Nowhere is this viral campaign was the most passionate, or of concern than it is in Brazil.
In the past year, the supporters of the new government’s right-wing, led by Jair jair bolsonaro have burned large areas of Amazon Forest for the use of the agribusiness industry on a large scale. This is the devastation of the Amazon – which is home to more than one-third of all species in the world, has exacerbated the impacts of destructive logging, mining, agriculture, and urbanization, in the very heart of the biological diversity of the Earth, by accelerating the recent increase in the rate of deforestation in the brazilian Amazon.
The power of social media has been the primary means by which jair bolsonaro and his supporters to justify and perpetuate these atrocities in the environment. On Facebook and Twitter, and they have denied him over and over again that the forest is being cut down and burned to the ground, in spite of evidence to the contrary, they have been verified independently and presented by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) in brazil. Jair bolsonaro went a step further. He accused scientists of falsifying data, and, in the end, he quit his job, the director of HIGHWAYS, Richard has Been listed among the ten most important scientists of 2019 at the latest for the magazine Nature.
The flames of the fire were still the more atiçadas on social media. On the 10th of August of the past year, dozens of land-owners and workers in the state of Pará, joined together via the WhatsApp groups to promote a “Day of Fire”, to burn extensive tracts of forest, thus showing their support for the efforts of jair bolsonaro, to eliminate penalties for crimes against the environment. These criminal activities have already resulted in the felling and burning of an area of land the size of the city of Rio de Janeiro. In addition to this, these fires could be seen from space, and the pollution of the air, entered, the, Bolivia, hundreds of miles away. In spite of the unique identifier and the public of the arsonists who started – none of which have yet been processed, the campaign of misinformation online, jair bolsonaro has been called out in full force: it has come to the use of the Facebook to accuse the Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio has been sponsored in the fire!
In a final bit of incomprehensible, jair bolsonaro desumanizou of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon thousands of years ago in the forests of his home. Recently, in one of his weekly broadcasts on Facebook, jair bolsonaro said that the research is progressing,” and “more and more, it’s a human being just like us.” To degenerate and demoralize the indigenous people is to stand for centuries, to justify the exploitation and degradation of the environment, and it is not surprising that, in our interconnected world of today, the leaders will reach to the lowest levels to continue the havoc on the environment.
We live in an interesting time, but it is strange, in that the information is spread out in a mass into the world in a matter of minutes. Up to the present time, the use of social media and the Internet as a weapon has been aimed, mainly, at the people and the civil society. The smoke, disappear in the Amazon, as we have witnessed first-hand the devastating impact these technologies have on the environment. An individual’s own actions, it would have been a little more than a drop in an ocean is very large, they have been amplified and reinforced by social media platforms-in a tidal wave of irreversible damage to many ecosystems which have evolved and developed over millions of years. We must stop the advance of this wave with the renewal of its commitment to the production and dissemination of knowledge, both scientifically based, and the struggle for the rights of all living beings on this little blue planet that we call home.
This is an expanded version of a paper published in the scientific journal, Nature, on the 16th of April 2020 (the online version of available on the 14th of April)..
*Charles Davis is a professor in the Department “Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, and curator of the Herbarium of the Harvard university
*Goia Lyra is a post-doctoral student at the University of the Federal da Bahia (UFBA) and researcher at the research group on Fenologia of the Plant, and Changes in The climate of Harvard University.
*Billy Smith is an associate professor the College of Architecture and Urban planning at the University of Brasilia, and is presently a post-the doctorate of government at Harvard University
*Mariana Guimarães is a researcher at the assistant to the Program’s Zofnass School of Design Graduate studies at Harvard, and a master’s in Public health and Urban Planning from Harvard University
*Jean Wyllys, was a member of the The National congress of brazil, is a journalist and human rights activist, exiled under the threat of to death for his political views. It’s ALARI Scholar at Risk at Harvard University
*Aaron Ellison is senior research fellow at the The ecology of government at Harvard University and deputy-director of the Harvard Forest