Sting has broken his silence on the Amazon rainforest superfire, condemning Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro’s lack of response to the crisis.
Blazes have been raging for close to a month, prompting the world’s leading conservationists and environmentalists to beg for action from billionaires and businessmen, and now top celebrity eco-warrior Sting has added his notes, insisting politicians should be doing more.
In a new Facebook post, Sting, who co-founded the Rainforest Foundation Fund in 1987, has heavily criticised President Bolsonaro after he downplayed the reaction to the ongoing fires and rejected a $22 million (£18 million) aid package suggested by French leader Emmanuel Macron at the ongoing G7 Summit.
“None of us… can be complacent about the tragic dimensions of the disaster taking place in the Amazon as I write,” Sting notes. “Amazonia is on fire at an unprecedented rate – 80% up from last year and with 39% more deforestation – and the world is suddenly taking notice.
“Populist leaders citing nationalist agendas, or claiming that climate change and its handmaidens are a hoax, are guilty of much more than standing by and doing nothing. This is criminal negligence on a global scale.
“This is no place for the outdated bromides of nationalism in a world where we all breathe the same air and where we will all suffer the consequences of this willful negligence… We simply cannot afford to let it burn. We are fast approaching the tipping point where the fires will continue to burn and cannot be put out.”
He adds, “We appeal to the Brazilian government to change the policy that has opened up Amazonia for exploitation. Nationalist rhetoric has effectively ignited the flames which threaten to engulf the most important living laboratory on the planet. Countless species are in danger of immediate extinction.
“The President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has openly voiced that he is no friend to the indigenous people and now he is reneging on land treaties already signed, opening up new territories and dismantling the scientific and human rights organizations in Brazil to enable this. He has criticized the G7 countries for hypocrisy, saying that we cut down our own forests long ago, but that’s no reason not to learn from those mistakes. We must all help to create a sustainable economic model which renders the destruction of the forests in Brazil unnecessary.”
Sting’s comments come two days after fellow celebrity environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio pledged $5 million (£4.05 million) through his foundation to help fight the wildfires.
The Oscar-winning actor set up his environmental foundation, Earth Alliance, last month (Jul19) alongside philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth, with the organisation launching the Amazon Forest Fund on Sunday (25Aug19).
The Amazon Forest Fund is also seeking donations, to enable the founders to “focus critical resources for indigenous communities and other local partners working to protect the life-sustaining biodiversity of the Amazon against the surge of fires currently burning across the region”.
Since Sting wrote his Facebook post, Bolsonaro has reportedly announced he will reconsider the $22 million offer to help fight the fires if the French president apologises to him.
“First of all, Macron has to withdraw his insults. He called me a liar. Before we talk or accept anything from France… he must withdraw these words then we can talk,” the Brazilian leader said, according to Reuters. “First he withdraws, then offers (aid), then I will answer.”