The Amazon Rain Forest is the biggest tropical rainforest in the world. This forest provides 20% of the world's oxygen as well as stores carbon dioxide, which helps prevent effects of climate change. At this time, we are at risk of losing all of that. Brazil is on fire and still nothing has been done to stop it. Half of the 72,000 fires that have occurred this year in Brazil have been in the Amazon, which is a 84% increase since the year before. If this continues, scientists agree that this will fuel climate change and cause much more damage to the earth.
Not only will these fires add to the climate problem, but they are also destroying the Amazon's biodiversity. Paul Rosolie, an American conservationist, claims that an incredible amount of plants, animals, and other wildlife will be affected. As he is someone who regularly visits the Amazon, he has seen the destruction that fires cause. They are disrupting the habitat of all these plants and animals who are dying by the millions. Human citizens of Brazil are also being put into danger, due to the smoke from the fire spreading nearly 2,000 miles and covering the city of Sao Paulo.
This disaster is continuing due to the leadership of Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro. He became president in January and has since led a pro-business run. In order to help the economy for farmers, he has decided to allow illegal forest clearing. This way there can be more room for cattle farming and crop fields. While this could help the economy, the way it is happening is not worth the harm to the environment. What Bolsonaro is doing is dangerous and must be stopped. Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary general, has prompted Brazil to fight this. He tweeted that the Amazon must be protected as it is a "major source of oxygen and biodiversity," especially in this time of climate change.
If fires continue, the Amazon Rain Forest could be wiped out. All of the animals and plant life could disappear. Furthermore, if the forest dies, it could change into a savanna desert. A University of Leeds professor, Roel Brienen, claims that if this happens there will be little chance of preventing climate change. This problem is not isolated to the Amazon, but the earth as a whole. Not to mention, with the peak of the dry season being next month in September, the threat is higher than ever.
Our earth is precious. It is all we've got and we have to take that seriously. Across the globe, people in power make decisions based purely on money, with no regard for our environment. If we don't make our voices heard, nothing will improve. Our ecosystem is a huge and important part of our world. We must protect our wildlife and plant life. They are counting on us to help them thrive and keep living. It is up to us to take care of this earth and ensure it's survival. It starts with you.
There are many ways to help. We are not powerless, use your power. Here are some options:
- Donate to Rainforest Action Network to protect an acre of the Amazonian rainforest.
- Donate to the Rainforest Trust to help buy land in the rainforest. Since 1988, the organization has saved over 23 million acres.
- Reduce your paper and wood consumption. Double-check with Rainforest Alliance that what you're buying is considered rainforest-safe. You can also purchase rainforest-safe products from the alliance's site.
- Reduce your beef intake. Beef found in processed products and fast-food burgers is often linked to deforestation.
- The World Wide Fund for Nature (known as the World Wildlife Fund in the US and Canada) works to protect the species in the Amazon and around the world.
- Ecosia.org is a search engine that plants a tree for every 45 searches you run.
- Explore Change.org petitions. A lawyer in Rio Branco has accumulated over 3 million signatures to mobilize an investigation into the Amazonian fires.
- Donate to Amazon Watch, an organization that protects the rainforest, defends Indigenous rights and works to address climate change.
- Donate to the Amazon Conservation Team, which works to fight climate change, protect the Amazon and empower Indigenous peoples.
- Amazon Conservation accepts donations and lists exactly what your money goes toward. You can help plant trees, sponsor education, protect habitats, buy a solar panel, preserve Indigenous lands and more.
- Contact your elected officials and make your voice heard.
- Donate to One Tree Planted, which works to stop deforestation around the world and in the Amazon Rainforest. One Tree Planted will keep you updated on the Peru Project and the impact your trees are having on the community.
- Sign Greenpeace's petition telling the Brazilian government to save the Amazon rainforest and protect the lands of indigenous and traditional communities.