With a string of inane comments meant to distract people, Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro keeps re-earning the title of “the Brazilian Trump.”
His latest crazy comment came Friday when he said that one way to save the environment is if people “poop every other day.”
But many in the media missed the key context. Bolsonaro is not someone who cares about the environment. He is someone who is in fact accelerating the deforestation of the Brazilian rainforest, and who says crazy stuff just to get the attention or cause distraction.
Bolsonaro’s comment was the result of a reporter asking him about whether Brazil can simultaneously grow more food while protecting the environment. And this question is the crucial context to understand Bolsonaro’s reply: “It’s enough to eat a little less. You talk about environmental pollution. It’s enough to poop every other day. That will be better for the whole world.”
Reacting to the statement, Cal Perry, a correspondent for NBC News International, tweeted a link to a BBC article on Bolsonaro’s statement, arguing: “And people say world leaders are out of touch on climate change.”
And people say world leaders are out of touch on climate change … “Jair Bolsonaro: 'Poop every other day' to protect the environment” https://t.co/UTscq3d6nE
— Cal Perry (@CalNBC) August 12, 2019
But this tweet makes no sense because no one ever said Bolsonaro was “in touch” on climate change — much as no one ever said President Donald Trump was.
Quite the reverse. The BBC article explains the reality of what Bolsonaro is doing to the environment in Brazil. Bolsonaro’s comment came after a “journalist quoted reports saying deforestation and agriculture were responsible for a quarter of the planet’s greenhouse effect.” The BBC also noted that the Brazilian president “recently came under fire after official data showed an increase in deforestation in the Amazon.”
Indeed, Brazil’s own National Institute for Space Research has reported that 870 square miles of the Amazon were clear-cut last month — an astounding 278% increase from a year ago. The Amazon rain forest helps combat climate change by storing vast amounts of carbon in its soil and vegetation.
On top of that, as the BBC noted, on August 2 the Brazilian president “sacked the head of the agency that reported the increase” (emphasis in original).
And like Trump, Bolsonaro has appointed pro-industry, anti-environmental types to run his environmental policy.
Given that context, Bolsonaro’s comment is not only absurd but it would appear to be intentionally absurd. Even Fox News noted, “It wasn’t clear if Bolsonaro was being sarcastic.”
But in one particularly bizarre media reaction Bolsonaro’s bizarre comment was that Forbes actually ran an entire column as if it were a serious solution: “Brazil’s President: What Is Wrong With His Poop Advice.”
The column opens with a question: “What’s most to blame for messing up the environment? How about you and your selfish insistence on pooping when you have to do so.”
It continues in this vein, noting, “To my knowledge, Bolsonaro is not [sic] medical doctor,” and “There is no established specific recommended frequency for pooping.”
But the point of this column becomes clear at the end when the author poses a question about “how much you eat and poop,” asking: “Do you really want the government to regulate you to that end? No, you can’t make this poop up.”
Only in a world devoid of context could Bolsonaro be used as an example of some sort of environmentalist reaching too far to regulate human behavior as opposed to what he is: “Brazil’s Donald Trump,” an anti-environmental extremist.