Things That Matter

The Amazon Forest Is Up In Flames And The President Of Brazil Has Admitted He Does Not Have The Funds To Stop It

If you haven’t already heard about it, Brazil’s Amazon rain forest is currently being ravaged by devastating large-scale wild-fires. According to recent reports and the country’s National Institute for Space Research, there has been a 77% increase in the number of fires burning in the area this year. No doubt, this large scale destruction is because of climate change. Done with being quiet, celebrities have been attempting to raise awareness of the destruction of the rainforest and its beautiful ecosystems through the hashtag #PrayForAmazonia.

The hashtag was created by environmentalist Nick Rose Dertsas, and hopefully, it will catch on quickly.

The environmentalist expressed his outrage over the lack of media coverage over the tragedy in a post to Instagram.

iamnickrose / Instagram

“Terrifying to think that the Amazon is the largest rain forest on the planet, creating 20% of the earth’s oxygen, basically the lungs of the world, has been on fire and burning for the last 16 days running, with literally NO media coverage whatsoever! Why? @unitednations who is running your page? Influences??? Where are you when it actually matters?????
@cnn @bbc @guardian @forbes#deforestation #climatechangePLEASE REPOST,” he wrote.

Camila Cabello caught wind of the post after it was retweeted by actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

camila_cabello / Instagram

“This is heartbreaking and terrifying ???????????? ‪This makes me want to cry with frustration. what are we DOING? We’re literally destroying our miracle of a home ???????????? I’m so sorry, earth ????????????‬#AmazonRainforest#Repost@leonardodicaprio with @get_repost
・・・
#Regram#RG@IamNickRose: Terrifying to think that the Amazon is the largest rain forest on the planet, creating 20% of the earth’s oxygen, basically the lungs of the world, has been on fire and burning for the last 16 days running, with literally NO media coverage whatsoever! Why?” Cabello wrote in her repost.

Cabello’s former girl group mate also shared the post.

laurenjauregui / Instagram

“Although I’ll admit prayer helps me breathe most days,
It can’t quite do the same job the Amazon in Brazil does for the human populace (not to mention all the life forms on this planet that also need oxygen to survive.) The Amazon has been burning for the past almost 3 weeks with little to no media coverage. The Amazon is responsible for 20% of our oxygen. Gaia is screaming. We are truly so disrespectful to our children, and our grandchildren, and their children. Awareness is one thing but I truly wanna know when we’re all going to wake up and feel the poison in our lungs. 
I honor mama Gaia today and pray for our collective healing and growth towards understanding that this is our only home. We borrow it from our children, and the mess we have made on it is so carelessly destructive. All in the name of the almighty dollar. It alarms me that so many in possession of power on this planet truly do not care about or even believe in the crisis we face. It pains me that they continue to deny, suppress truth and spew out false information. To roll back policies that protect our environment and native people’s rights all while profiting off the lands and people they continue to destroy. What is happening in the Amazon, what is happening in Hawaii, is all connected. We should all be paying very close attention to the way our chosen leaders treat the planet we live on and only have one of. We should be very very aware during election season so closely upon us, but we should also be figuring out ways to be conscious of our environment and our interaction with it every day. My heart hurts for all the animals whose homes have been destroyed, for all of the indigenous peoples who have been affected by the loss of this land, for all of the unique plant life and beauty that we have just lost as a collective family on this planet. Offering up all the healing energy I can muster. ❤️????????✨” Jauregui wrote in a post about the fires.

https://www.instagram.com/laurenjauregui/?utm_source=ig_embed

Songstress Ellie Golding also posted about the fires.

“There was worldwide outcry when Notre Dame was on fire,” she wrote highlighting the way so many were quick to pour funding, tears and support for the building of the Catholic structure in Europe. Her post highlights how little care there is not only for the environment but also for institutions in Latin America.

Today he president of Brazil announced that the government would not have enough funding to fight the fires.

Here’s hoping our world leaders and institutions will reach out to Brazil and offer the same help that they did just a few months ago when Notre Dame was under fire.

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Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Things That Matter

Brazil Just Passed a Bill That Will Allow Rich Corporations to ‘Skip the Line’ for COVID-19 Vaccines

Photo via Getty Images

Currently, Brazil is one of the world’s epicenters of the coronavirus. In March 2021, Brazil saw 66,573 COVID-19-related deaths. That means 1 in every 3 COVID-related deaths worldwide are occuring in Brazil.

And it doesn’t appear that the numbers will be slowing down anytime soon. While the United States is making strides in their COVID-19 vaccine distribution, Brazil is lagging far behind. And things are about to get a lot more complicated.

On Tuesday, Brazil passed a bill that would allow corporations to buy up as many vaccines as they can get their hands on, and privately distribute them to their employees first.

Elected officials in Brazil are arguing that the country has become so desperate to vaccinate its citizens, that it doesn’t matter who gets the vaccines first at this point.

The country, once renowned for having one of the most robust and efficient public vaccine-distribution programs in the world, has failed to make strides towards getting their citizens vaccinated.

“We are at war,” said the leader of the chamber, Arthur Lira. “And in war, anything goes to save lives.” We don’t know about you, but usually when it comes to war, we’ve heard that soldiers prioritize the health and safety of young, the weak, and the elderly before their own? We digress…

Brazil’s plan to privatize the vaccine rollout has brought up moral and ethical questions.

From the beginning, the World Health Organization has asked countries to first prioritize essential health workers and then high-risk populations when distributing the vaccine.

Anything other than that would promote a pay-to-play schemes in which the rich could protect their lives before poor people could. And poor people are more likely to die from COVID-19 in the first place.

As Alison Buttenheim, behavioral scientist and expert on the equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine said, vaccine distribution should not “exacerbate disparities and inequities in health care,” but instead address them. Brazil’s vaccine rollout plan would fail to do any of the above.

If countries begin to allow the rich to prioritize their own interests during the vaccine rollout, the consequences could be disastrous.

In a time when the world is stoked by fear and uncertainty, the worst thing that can happen is for rich companies to exacerbate inequalities by effectively choosing who lives or dies.

As the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization said at the beginning of the global vaccine rollout: “any distribution of vaccines should advance human well-being and honor global equity, national equity, reciprocity, and legitimacy.”

Poor Brazilians should not be left to fend for themselves against COVID-19 simply because they are poor.

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Brazil is Fining Apple $2 Million For Selling the iPhone 12 Without A Charger, And We’re Not Mad About It

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Brazil is Fining Apple $2 Million For Selling the iPhone 12 Without A Charger, And We’re Not Mad About It

Photo via Getty Images

It seems like every new product rollout, Apple gets stingier and stingier with what they include with each purchase. And while Brazil has recently been in the headlines for controversial news, this time, they have the public opinion on their side. Standing up for consumers, Brazil is fining Apple for alleged “false advertising”.

On Friday, a consumer watchdog agency announced that Brazil is fining Apple for $2 million. The reason? Not including a charger with the iPhone 12.

According to Procon, the São Paulo-based consumer protection agency, Apple’s decision not to include a charger with the iPhone 12 amounts to “false advertising”. Procon also accused Apple of selling “defective products”, creating unfair contracts for consumers, and failing to repair products that are still under warranty.

Per Brazilian media, Procon contacted Apple last year to ask them why they were now excluding chargers and earbuds. However, the company “never offered a convincing explanation” to the Brazilian agency.

“Apple needs to understand that in Brazil there are solid laws and institutions for consumer protection,” said Procon executive Fernando Capez, explaining why Brazil is fining Apple. “It needs to respect these laws and these institutions.” 

In October of 2020, Apple announced that it would no longer include chargers or earbuds in their iPhone boxes. The company cited “environmental concerns”.

But savvy consumers couldn’t help but be skeptical of Apple’s explanation. Some people thought that Apple’s “environmental decision” was simply a pretense. In reality, they thought it might be a gimmick to take more money from customers under the pretense of environmentalism.

For one, we fail to see how including chargers and earbuds in an iPhone package would help the environment. Wouldn’t individual boxes for each product simply contribute to more waste? We digress….

In general, consumers across the globe can’t help but…agree with Procon.

Anyone who is an Apple devotee (read: prisoner) knows that you can end up feeling trapped as a customer. You become roped into an endless cycle of buying products that seem to be diminishing in quality every year. Not only that, but every year, the iPhone becomes more expensive while customers get less bang for their buck.

But at some point, you feel like you have to buy Apple products. Because of how Apple designs their products, all of the technology you own (laptops, tablets, chargers, etc.) only works with Apple products.

Starting to buy a different brand would be akin to throwing away hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars you’ve already invested in Apple tech. To be an Apple customer is to be stuck in a vicious cycle.

Hopefully, other governments will follow suit. After all, big tech has been taking advantage of consumers for too long.

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