Elon Musk wants to fight deforestation and connect the Amazon

The billionaire company SpaceX will deploy satellite internet over the Amazon rainforest, which will also help detect illegal logging.

American multibillionaire Elon Musk announced on Friday in Brazil the launch of the program “environmental monitoringAmazon and improving its Internet access, just before meeting with President Jair Bolsonaro. “I am very happy to be in Brazil to launch Starlink for 19,000 unconnected schools in rural areas and to monitor the Amazon environment.— wrote on Twitter the richest man in the world, the owner of the space company SpaceX and automaker Tesla.

In November, the Brazilian government announced talks with SpaceX to deploy satellite internet in the Amazon rainforest and help detect illegal logging. The meeting between the President of Brazil and the billionaire took place in the morning at a luxury hotel in Porto Feliz, about 100 km from Sao Paulo. “Since we are about to connect Amazon, we have brought (to Brazil) one of the world’s greatest business leaders to help us in this mission.“, Brazilian Communications Minister Fabio Faria said on Twitter, in a message illustrated with two photos of him and Elon Musk at the hotel in question.

Journalists in attendance were kept at a distance from the establishment, surrounded by an important security device, said the AFP group, which saw President Bolsonaro quickly get out of the car on arrival to greet the ordering forces before entering the hotel. On Thursday night, he announced that he was going to hold a character meeting.”private“in Sao Paulo”with a very important person known all over the world“. That man “comes to offer his help for our Amazon“, – the president clarified in his live weekly on social networks.

Fight against deforestation

The Amazon is a hot topic in Brazil and in that country’s relations with the international community. Deforestation has skyrocketed under the Bolsonaro government, accused of encouraging impunity for gold miners, farmers or timber merchants who illegally clear rainforests.

For Bolsonaro, this meeting is positive because they are to discuss improving surveillance of the Amazon.Oliver Stuenkel, professor of international relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, told AFP. “But this is primarily a facade speech, experts believe that the problem of deforestation is not a lack of control, the Brazilian system is very complex. The problem is related to the lack of intervention of environmental authorities.“, he adds.

According to a study by the NGO team Mapbiomas, Bolsonaro’s government’s environmental authorities intervened after less than 3% of deforestation warnings detected by satellites of the current monitoring system.

Takeover of Twitter

Elon Musk became a Bolsonaro hero when he announced his intention to buy Twitter last month, promising less strict moderation in the name of free speech. Very active on social media, Jair Bolsonaro has seen several of his posts, including those on Twitter, removed for misinformation.

O Globo indicated that the meeting was to be held in the presence of two ministers, Mr Faria and Defense Minister Paulo Sergio Nogueira, as well as 13 business leaders, including those of the country’s main telecom companies.

In mid-February, SpaceX launched a second batch of about 50 Starlink service satellites to bring Internet connectivity to customers around the world. Starlink allows residents of areas poorly served by fixed and mobile networks to access high-speed Internet via thousands of small satellites. Elon Musk’s fortune is estimated by Forbes magazine at $230 billion. He recently announced his intention to buy the social network Twitter for $44 billion before putting the project on hold, conditioned on receiving data on the proportion of fake accounts.