Indigenous Brazilian woman delivers heartbreaking message as fire rages behind her
Just days after Brazillian president Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree to deploy military forces to help combat the Amazon wildfires, a heartbreaking video has been circulated on social media showing what appears to be a native Pataxó woman delivering an emotional plea as a fire burns behind her.
Per the Daily Mail, roughly 44,000 troops will be made available for "unprecedented" operations in an attempt to control the blazes. Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo has revealed that Brazillian forces are heading to four of the country's states that have each asked for federal intervention.
Check out the heart-wrenching video below. It's hard not to want to take action:
It is still unknown when or exactly where the footage was recorded, but it was shared by the activist group Sunrise Movement on social media, along with the caption:
"People are deliberately starting fires in the #AmazonRainforest to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching
"Not only does the Amazon provide over 20% of the world's oxygen, but it is also the ancestral home to a million native people (such as the woman in this video)."
As the fire rages behind her, the Pataxó woman turns to the camera and delivers a powerful message to those watching:
"For two years we've fought to preserve [our reservation] and these a**holes came in and burned it down.
"They are killing our rivers, our sources of life, and now they have set our reserve on fire. Tomorrow we are closing the roads and I want all the media here to see this."
The Pataxó are an indigenous group in Bahia, Brazil with a population of about 11,800 people.
Per BBC News, forest fires are quite common during the Amazon's dry season - which runs from July to October - and can be caused by naturally occurring events, such as lightning strikes. However, the Daily Mail reports that many experts agree that the ongoing blazes were likely to be started by people - echoing this woman's words.
Christian Poirier, a program director for conservation non-profit group Amazon Watch, reveals that cattle ranchers and farmers regularly set fires to rainforest land in order to clear it for grazing and agriculture. Speaking to CNN, Poirier said: "The Amazon is incredibly important for our future, for our ability to stave off the worst of climate change."
Speaking to The Independent on Friday, Professor Thomas Lovejoy of George Mason University revealed how further deforestation to "the lungs of our planet" could soon be out of human control:
"When we were first worried about it, the amount of deforestation was small. But then these other things started to interact – the impact of deforestation and the effects of climate change became apparent, and the extent of the use of fire [for clearing land] became apparent.
"The reason we believe the tipping point is so close is because we're seeing historic droughts in 2005, 2010, and 2016.
"And satellite images in the north-central Amazon also show forests remote from everything are beginning to convert into grassland. That's yet another symptom."
According to Alberto Setzer, a senior scientist at Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE), roughly 99% of the Amazon's fires are started by people, "either on purpose or by accident".