Editor's note

There is a lot of confusing information flying around about the Amazon rainforest fires. Within Brazil, some of that has concerned the types of fires involved. Jayalaxshmi Mistry claims the country’s government and its agribusiness allies are deliberately conflating small, sustainable fires lit by Indigenous people, with much larger fires associated with industrial deforestation. But fire can be used sustainably, she writes – even in the Amazon. Meanwhile, Brazil’s far right president Jair Bolsonaro is facing a growing backlash, says Anthony Pereira, as 96% of the country say he should do more to protect the rainforest.

Outside of Brazil, some have compared the Amazon fires to Africa’s more numerous (but not as environmentally worrying) savannah fires, while others are talking about quitting meat, beef, soy or boycotting corporations that work in the rainforest. Doug Specht looks at eight things you can do that will actually help.

Elsewhere, a century-old trade dispute between Japan and South Korea has flared up again and could threaten the world’s supply of smartphones. And in the UK, Boris Johnson’s prorogation strategy shows “disdain for the core idea of democracy on which the UK constitution is based”, says a professor of constitutional law.

Will de Freitas

Environment + Energy Editor

Top stories

Fire burning in the upper Amazon River basin near Porto Velho on August 15. Satelitte Image ©2019 Maxar Technologies/EPA

Amazon fires: Jair Bolsonaro faces mounting political backlash in Brazil – even from his allies

Anthony Pereira, King's College London

What the Amazon fires mean for Jair Bolsonaro politically.

A fireman works to extinguish a fire at a forest near Porto Velho, Brazil. Joedson Alves/EPA

Amazon fires: eight ways you can help stop the rainforest burning

Doug Specht, University of Westminster

You didn't cause the fires, but you can help prevent them spreading.

EPA-EFE/Jeon Heon-Kyun

How a century-old dispute between Japan and South Korea threatens the global supply of smartphones

Pushan Dutt, INSEAD

Historical grievances, domestic politics, the US-China trade war and a looming global recession are all at play.

Chris jackson/PA

Is Boris Johnson’s parliamentary prorogation constitutional? How to understand the UK system

Michael Gordon, University of Liverpool

The UK does not have a written constitution so how can we tell if the government is right or wrong on this point?

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