The Future of the Amazon, and Maybe the Planet, Depends on Brazil’s President-Elect Lula

I asked Lula about the path to zero deforestation, and suggested that his “moral responsibility” was huge. “People around the world are expecting you not only to save the Amazon but to save the world,” I said. He nodded, then raised his voice and said, “Yes, I know, and that scares me, because people are very optimistic about our government. I spoke to President Biden, and I just spoke to Josep Borrell,” the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. “People are expecting that something will change, and it will change. As for the question of the Amazon, I intend, in Egypt, to make a speech to show what the Amazon will be from now on. We don’t want to transform the Amazon into a sanctuary for humanity. What we want is to study, to research the Amazon. Nor should it be a place where you cut down a tree for no reason. If you want to make a lumber factory, you should have a policy of afforestation, to plant new trees, so that later you can cut them down. There has to be a replacement plan.”