Brazilian President Says "Poop Every Other Day" To Save The Planet

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The Amazon is currently being torn down at a rate that it has never seen before. Last month, over 2,254 square kilometers (870 square miles) of the rainforest were chopped down in Brazil, up a whopping 278 percent on July 2018.

Why the sudden increase? In October last year, Jair Bolsonaro won the Brazilian presidency. As well as various other horrifying comments (he has said many racist, misogynistic and homophobic statements) he has made a number of anti-environmental statements during his campaign, which he appears to be following through in government.

A human-made climate change denier, in power he has set about dismantling Brazil's environmental protections, including stripping the environment ministry's authority over forestry. Since then his government's National Space Research Institute (NPE) satellite data showed that an area the size of Rhode Island has been deforested this year. Following the release of that data, the far-right President called it "lies" and fired Ricardo Galvão, the director of the Institute, the Guardian reported. Not a great sign for fans of habitable climates on Earth.

Fortunately, it appears Bolsonaro has his own ideas to stop the climate crisis. When a journalist quoted reports that deforestation and agriculture cause around a quarter of the planet's greenhouse effect, Bolsonaro responded that in order to tackle it:

"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."

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Yes, a man cutting down the rainforest at a rate that's earned him the nickname "Captain Chainsaw" has asked ordinary people without the power to stop that, "have you tried not going number 2?" 

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Setting aside his terrible record, is this a good idea? Most likely not, health-wise.

"Pooping is usually not something that you can just decide when to do. You can't really schedule all pooping in advance," pointed out Bruce Y. Lee, associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, writing for Forbes. "Arbitrarily telling people to poop less frequently is not good health advice and could result in lots of accidents and soiled underwear."

The healthy pooping range, according to a 2018 study is anywhere from three a day to three a week. Holding in your poop for an extended length of time is probably not a good idea if you aren't a fan of hardened stool and fecal impaction.

There are dangers involved in holding in your poop for too long. In 2015 a teenage girl with a phobia of toilets died after holding in a bowel movement for eight weeks. The build-up led to her chest cavity becoming compressed and eventually she died of a heart attack. Last year, a man broke a British police record for holding in poop in custody: over 40 days. In this case, he was on "toilet strike" after being allegedly caught by police attempting to swallow a container of drugs, rather than a committed environmentalist trying to save the planet one bowel movement at a time.

If you want to do your bit, maybe keep pooping in a way that's normal for you, and cut down on meat. A United Nations report on land use and climate change published last week recommended switching to a plant-based diet in order to reduce emissions. Depending on your current diet, this could result in more poops, not less, but your carbon footprint will be lower.

And if you're Bolsonaro and want to help, I know of a rainforest you could stop tearing down.

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