Why is it important to fight fires in the amazon?
There is a war going on between Brazilian farmers, who want to expand and survive, the Brazilian president rallying behind them.
But this means expanding into land currently home to the most expensive and elegant biodiversity, for which we dont even know the value.
Essentially, because of a mismatch of incentives, real estate that could be worth millions and billions of dollars is being demolished. We don’t know the value, and therefore we assume there isn’t any.
The economic solution to a problem like this is to subsidize the farmers for what they would have earned, however lack of organization, and the transaction costs from an unstable political environment, have made this arguably impossible. Also, it’s politically unpalatable to invest into biodiversity, especially with the rise of populism, which is by definition driven by short-term interests.
So if our government, saddled in debt from a great recovery from the Great Recession, isn’t able to make a subsidy of that kind, the best thing we can do is support organizations (Greenpeace, for example) that fight the causes. These organizations hold the key to future generations benefiting from the mind boggling technology nature has created in the Amazon, however most people don’t have the money to support them. Also, mistakes in the past by these organizations coupled with loss aversion bias, or the human tendency to put further weight on those mistakes rather than successes, may lessen support.