Letters to the Editor: Burning the Amazon forest is the dumbest thing humanity can do

Forest land smolders in a portion of the Amazon after it was slashed and burned to make way for a palm plantation.
Forest land smolders in a portion of the Amazon after it was slashed and burned to make way for a palm plantation.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The thousands of fires burning in the Amazon rainforest constitute the scariest climate emergency yet. This is happening right now, it is irreversible, and what is lost is not replaceable.

In the blink of an eye, we are turning one of the Earth’s greatest hopes for survival into one of Earth’s greatest contributions to our demise. We are destroying the planet’s bountiful ecological diversity to create more land for cattle grazing so we can eat meat.

We are all travelers on a lifeboat sailing through space and time, and some of us are poking holes in our fragile boat. What do the rest of us do? Accept the immense, irreversible stupidity of our species, or step forward to protect our irreplaceable planet?

This moment will not come again. There is no time left.

Phil Beauchamp, Chino Hills


To the editor: If Brazil had found vast deposits of oil within its borders, it would reap billions of dollars. However, when it is responsible for much of the world’s oxygen by way of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil is told by other industrialized countries, which have squandered their own land to improve their people’s standard of living, not to exploit its resources.


How about a global carbon tax with the proceeds going to countries that preserve and expand forests? This will monetize the preservation of these life-sustaining lands.

If Alaska can pay an oil dividend to its residents, Brazil ought to be compensated by the rest of the world and pay its people a forest dividend.

Rene Kaprielian, San Diego


To the editor: “Your money or your life” was a Jack Benny joke from his radio show when the miserly character was held up in a comedy skit. Benny’s punchline: “I’m thinking it over.”

It was so obvious to the audience which option was more precious, but right now humanity does not see the obvious. The Amazon and other great forests around the world are burning, and we must choose between short-term profit and the ability to live on Earth.

All of us must support measures to rein in the greenhouse gases that cause climate disruption and to promote preservation and restoration of the forests.

Mary Clumeck, Santa Ana


To the editor: I cannot imagine an uglier, more insane scene than trees being bulldozed and summarily torched -- the very trees that create the oxygen we breathe and suck up the carbon dioxide we increasingly create.

It is not an overstatement to say that our entire planet is in crisis from what might be called the tragedy of our lifetimes. You cannot expect to turn irreplaceable rainforest into farmland without suffering irrevocable, global consequences while deforestation is accelerating toward a tipping point.

Humanity fails to appreciate the work that the rainforest does at its own peril.

Linda Nicholes, Huntington Beach