Members of the Byron Shire’s Brazilian community are organising a silent protest to express their distress and anger over the devastating fires raging in the Amazon rainforest.
As the destruction of the world’s largest single supplier of oxygen continues virtually unabated, local Brazilians are calling on all residents to come together at 11.11am on Sunday outside the Mercato shopping centre for a silent march to the beach.
‘Right now people are dying in the fire, especially the indigenous population and the quality of the air across Brazil is unbearable,’ one of the protest organisers Lilian Alkmim said.
‘There is also a massive destruction of flora and fauna.
‘We’re essentially at risk of losing the Amazon.’
‘We are calling on the government to ensure that we keep the protection of these areas.’
Brazil has had more than 72,000 fires this year, an 84 per cent increase on the same period in 2018, says the country’s National Institute for Space Research. More than half were in the Amazon.
There was a sharp rise in deforestation during July, which has been followed by extensive burning in August.
Local newspapers say farmers in some regions are organising “fire days” to take advantage of weaker enforcement by the authorities.
Brazil’s right wing President Jair Bolsonaro has so far angrily resisted calls from the international community to undertake effective measures to protect the Amazon, which supplies 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen.