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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro suggested his environmentalist critics eat less and try to “poop every other day” rather than attack him for the spike in deforestation rates under his administration.
“It’s enough to eat a little less. You talk about environmental pollution. It’s enough to poop every other day,” Bolsonaro told a journalist who asked whether it was possible to preserve the environment while simultaneously growing the economy and feeding the people of the world during a Friday press conference. “That will be better for the whole world,” he added.
The Brazilian leader faces international outcry after the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) revealed clear-cutting of the Amazon rainforest had increased 278 percent for the month of July compared to last year. Slamming the numbers as lies, Bolsonaro fired INPE chief Ricardo Galvao last week, replacing him with a military official.
Claiming the data were misleadingly framed to satisfy “sensationalist interpretations,” Environment Minister Ricardo Salles accused the INPE of seeking “more donations from foreign NGOs.” While July and June represent especially high peaks, the deforestation rate is up a solid 40 percent for the last 12 months compared to the previous period. Salles, however, claims the government has a “feasible plan” to combat deforestation and promised to show Europeans “what Brazil really is” when he tours the continent next month.
Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina likened criticism of the Bolsonaro government’s environmental record to “terrorism” last month after international human rights organizations called out her agency for loosening regulations on pesticides, allowing many that are banned in the EU to be sprayed liberally on Brazilian foodstuffs that are then exported to the EU.