Brazil's president: Save the planet, "Poop every other day"

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro offered up a couple of suggestions when a reporter asked him how to balance protecting the planet with agricultural development. Eat a little less, he said, and only poop every other day.

The journalist was referring to a topic that has President Bolsonaro in hot water – an increase in deforestation in the Amazon. Official studies have provided data that shows an increase in deforestation and Bolsonaro is coming under fire for it. His solution so far has been to fire the head of the agency that provided that data. The report concludes that deforestation and agriculture are responsible for a fourth of the planet’s greenhouse effect.

“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,” he said.

This takes government butting into the lives of its citizens onto a whole new level, doesn’t it? Scientists are blaming Bolsonaro’s policies, which they claim favor development over conservation. Experts say that cutting down trees to make room for pastures for cattle is a big problem. In past years, the policies of Bolsonaro’s predecessors included levying fines and confiscating lumber to reduce deforestation. Bolsonaro has dramatically reduced lumber confiscation and convictions of those charged with environmental crimes. He also criticizes the penalties – fines – issued by federal agencies.

Environmentalists are concerned about preserving the Amazonian rainforest because it is the largest in the world and works to absorb and store carbon, which slows climate change. One agency – Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) – used figures from June and July in comparison to those two months a year ago to show an escalation in deforestation. Cue the ominous scary music.

According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), which tracks clear-cutting of the rainforest, around 2,254 square kilometers (870 square miles) of the Amazon were cleared in July, an increase of 278 percent from a year ago.

That followed a 90 percent increase in June compared to the year prior — figures that Bolsonaro has called “lies,” and which prompted the sacking of INPE chief Ricardo Galvao on August 2.

The INPE director was fired and strident environmentalists are not happy. Brazil’s Environment Minister says the latest data is being used to fundraise and sensationalize.

But Environment Minister Ricardo Salles said the INPE data was published in a way that satisfied “sensationalist interpretations” and was aimed at getting “more donations from foreign NGOs”.

Data from INPE, an institution of international repute, showed that overall deforestation has increased 40 percent in the last twelve months compared with the same period a year ago.

Bolsonaro is described as “far-right” and a retired military officer. He served in the country’s Chamber of Deputies, representing the state of Rio de Janeiro, between 1991 and 2018. His comments about women and minorities frequently come under fire from the woke Brazilian press. I suppose an odd comment about eating less and pooping every other day is a natural progression in reporting. He also points a finger at a rising world population to blame for environmental woes.

“When you see how the world’s population is increasing by 70 million a year, you need a family planning policy,” said the former army officer, declining to use the term “birth control” for fear of an adverse media reaction.

“Don’t make me say that, otherwise (the daily) Folha de S. Paolo will run a headline saying I favor birth control,” he said.

“But you can see that more educated people have fewer children. I’m an exception to that rule, I have five,” he said.

Just as President Trump is blamed for the destruction of American democracy by the leftist extremists among us, environmental extremists claim President Bolsonaro is destroying the Amazon.

“Bolsonaro knows that his government is primarily responsible for the current destruction of the Amazon. The dismissal of the director of INPE is nothing more than an act of revenge against those who show the truth,” said Marcio Astrini from Greenpeace.

I can understand the “eat a little less” part of Bolsonaro’s off-the-cuff solutions if the intention is to utilize less land for agricultural purposes. It’s the suggestion that Brazilians poop “every other day” that puzzles me. Is it to limit the use of toilet paper, thus lessening the need for wood by-products? Is it like the environmental wackos who encourage limiting toilet paper use to a square or two? Eating less would decrease the need to poop but I’m not falling for that line of thinking.

Individual pooping habits vary. Some people may do it three times a day, some may do it every other day, but dictating personal bathroom habits isn’t the job of a nation’s leader. I can’t believe I looked up some information on this but I did. My first reaction that this suggestion can’t be a healthy one may be correct.

A 2010 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology found that 98 percent of its participants pooped between 3 times per week to 3 times daily.

Deviating significantly from the regular pattern may still be considered healthy, but it can also indicate the development of a stomach or bowel problem.

Personal eating habits and bathroom routines are just that – personal. Government overreach, whether it is a serious suggestion or not, is out of line. Surely the Brazilian president will get a better response to deforestation questions in the future.