Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was reinstated by Leonardo DiCaprio after the Hollywood actor and environmentalist encouraged the country’s youth to vote in elections later this year.
“Brazil is home to the Amazon and other ecosystems critical to climate change,” DiCaprio said on Twitter Thursday.
“What happens there affects all of us and the voices of young people are crucial to driving the transition to a healthy planet,” he said.
Mr. Bolsonaro, who cut the environmental safeguards, responded with bitterness.
“Thanks for your support, Leone! All Brazilians must vote in the next elections, “tweeted the far-right leader, who took office in 2019.
“Our people will decide whether they want to keep our sovereignty over the Amazon or be controlled by swindlers serving foreign special interests.”
DiCaprio is campaigning to better protect the Amazon rainforest, donating $ 5 million (£ 4.1 million) to conservation efforts in 2019.
Bolsonaro was widely criticized for his government’s environmental policies and accused of accelerating deforestation in the region.
Guardians accused Bolsonaro and his government of turning a blind eye to farmers and loggers clearing land in the Amazon, the largest rainforest in the world.
The country’s leader has weakened the region’s environmental protections, arguing that the government should use the region to alleviate poverty.
According to government satellite data, the number of trees felled in the Brazilian Amazon in January of this year exceeded deforestation in the same month last year.
The area was destroyed five times more than in 2021, the highest total in January since registrations began in 2015.
Brazil’s vast rainforest absorbs huge amounts of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and acts as a so-called carbon sink. But the more trees that are felled, the fewer emissions the forest can absorb.
It is not the first time that the two are at loggerheads on the issue.
In 2019, Bolsonaro accused DiCaprio of “giving money to set the Amazon on fire”.
He hasn’t presented any evidence, but he has a habit of blaming NGOs that criticize his policies for the fires that ravaged the rainforest in 2019.
Last year, DiCaprio partnered with many celebrities urging US President Joe Biden not to sign an environmental treaty with Brazil amid increasing deforestation in the Amazon.