Dear Editor:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressing concerns about Brazil at the G7, while arguably enabling and in ways promoting comparable havoc here, seems hypocritical.

Genocidal actions against Brazilian Indigenous peoples, and Amazon rainforest destruction, certainly call for international action, but the persistence of such destructive patterns is partially attributable to our tendency to focus on “far-flung” events — allowing these to overshadow and delay addressing related patterns close to home.

To wit, from Global Forest Watch’s interactive site (globalforestwatch.org): In 2010, Canada had 43 per cent (421 megahectares) natural forest cover, constituting 10 per cent of the global total. In 2018, it lost 2.14 Mha or .5 per cent. In 2010, Brazil had 59 per cent natural forest cover (492 Mha), constituting 13 per cent of the global total. In 2018, Brazil lost 2.83 Mha, or .57 per cent.

From 2001-2018, Canada lost only 0.3 per cent less forest cover than Brazil — i.e. 9.7 per cent (40.7 Mha), equal to 11 per cent of total global loss, with Brazil losing 10 per cent (53.8 Mha), equal to 15 per cent of global loss.

From 2013-2018, 100 per cent of the Canadian loss occurred within natural forest, in Brazil 96 per cent. As of 2016, 41 per cent of Canadian cover was intact forest, while in Brazil, it was 45 per cent. From 2001 to 2012, Canada gained 9.11 Mha through forest recovery/tree farming, while Brazil gained 7.59 Mha.

To help stop patterns of atrocity such as in Brazil and strengthen global environmental efforts, Canadians can increase their awareness, challenge electorally and legally, and act locally toward honouring both our own stewardship of a significant portion of the Earth’s respiratory/biodiversity systems, and First Nations rights and ecological expertise.