Considering what a big deal saving the rainforest once was, it seems like it's been awhile since we've heard anything about one of the major environmental struggles of the previous millennium.
So what happened? Did we save the Amazon?
For a while, It seemed like we might have. The rates of deforestation in the Amazon climbed in the 1980s and 90s, reaching a peak around 2004, at which point many international organizations and countries acted swiftly to stop what was seen as a global crisis.
Norway alone funneled a billion dollars to Brazil in order to protect the rainforest in 2008. The Brazilian government also took charge of the issue in the mid-2000s, establishing and enforcing policies to protect its wildest forests against landowners looking to develop it for farming and other uses.
And the government protection worked. They successfully established 150 million acres for conservation, and deforestation rates dropped nearly 80% by 2011 from the peak in 2004. These changes were monumental, and environmentalists around the world heralded Brazil for taking such serious action to save the Amazon.
Then, after Dilma Rousseff was elected president in 2010, the Brazilian government decided that saving the rainforest should take a back seat to their economic development.
The Solution Journal: How Brazil Has Dramatically Reduced Tropical Deforestation
LiveScience: Deforestation: Facts, Causes & Effects
NASA: Tropical Deforestation Affects Rainfall in the U.S. and Around the Globe=