Madonna and Leonardo DiCaprio were among the scores of Hollywood figures demanding action to address the ongoing crisis in the Brazilian Amazon, where fires continue to ravage the world’s largest tropical rainforest.
Shocking images of the fires are currently being streamed worldwide, with many people blaming Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over his inaction and commitment to using parts of the forest for agribusiness and economic development. One of those was Madonna, who urged people to “wake up.”
“The Fires Are Raging and The Amazonia continues to burn………This is devastation to Brazil—to the indigenous people who live there and the-plant and animal species that make this the most important bio-diverse Forest!!!” the singer said.
“President Bolsonaro please change your policies and help not only your country but the entire planet. No economic development is more important than protecting this land,” she continued. “We need to WAKE -UP!! The future of the rainforest affects the future of the world!”
According to data collected by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (NISR), which monitors deforestation and wildfires, around 74,000 fires have occurred across the Amazon rainforest in 2019, an 84 percent increase from the same period in 2018.
Such figures were cited by actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who declared that the “lungs of the earth are in flames.”
“The Brazilian Amazon — home to 1 million Indigenous people and 3 million species — has been burning for more than two weeks straight,” he wrote on Instagram. “Scientists and conservationists attribute the accelerating deforestation to President Jair Bolsonaro, who issued an open invitation to loggers and farmers to clear the land after taking office in January. ”
“The largest rainforest in the world is a critical piece of the global climate solution,” DiCaprio continued. “Without the Amazon, we cannot keep the Earth’s warming in check.
” The Amazon needs more than our prayers,” he added, before listing a range of ways people can help protect the environment.
Other celebrities, including singers Miguel and Camila Cabello, actors like John Cusack and Whitney Cummings, reality TV star Kris Jenner, soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, and internet personality Logan Paul also took to social media to express their dismay:
As noted by CNN, many of the images shared by celebrities are not from the current crisis, with Logan Paul’s photo having been taken in 1989.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Bolsonaro suggested that various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) could have started the fires in an effort to undermine his administration and plans for economic development.
“On the question of burning in the Amazon, which in my opinion may have been initiated by NGOs because they lost money, what is the intention?” he told reporters. “Maybe — I am not affirming it — these (NGOs) are carrying out some criminal actions to draw attention against me, against the government of Brazil. This is the war we are facing.”