Bolsonaro hits out at DiCaprio after election plea
Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, has retaliated against Leonardo DiCaprio, the Hollywood actor and environmentalist, who encouraged the country’s youth to vote in the upcoming elections.
On Thursday, DiCaprio tweeted, “Brazil is home to the Amazon and other ecosystems critical to climate change.”
“What happens there affects us all,” he said, adding that “young voting is critical in driving change for a healthy planet.”
Mr Bolsonaro, who has slashed environmental regulations, replied with mockery.
DiCaprio is a supporter of greater Amazon rainforest protection, donating $5 million (£4.1 million) to conservation initiatives in 2019.
Mr Bolsonaro has been chastised for his government’s environmental policies and has been accused of speeding up deforestation in the region.
Farmers and loggers removing land in the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, have been blamed by conservationists on Mr Bolsonaro and his government.
The country’s leader has lowered environmental safeguards in the region, arguing that the government should use the region to alleviate poverty.
According to government satellite data, the number of trees felled in the Brazilian Amazon in January this year greatly outnumbered those felled in the same month the previous year.
The area damaged was five times larger than in 2021, making January 2015 the most destructive month on record.
The vast rainforest of Brazil serves as a carbon sink, absorbing significant amounts of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. However, when more trees are cut down, the forest’s ability to absorb emissions reduces. This isn’t the first time the two have disagreed on the subject.
Mr Bolsonaro accused DiCaprio of “providing money to set fire to the Amazon” in 2019.
He provided no evidence, but he has a history of blaming non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who oppose his policies for causing forest fires, which decimated the rainforest in 2019.
Last year, DiCaprio, along with a slew of other celebrities, urged US President Joe Biden not to sign any environmental pact with Brazil, citing rising deforestation in the Amazon as a reason.