Since Tuesday, talk of the Amazon rainforest fires went mainstream. I'm sure you've seen the headlines.
Here's what's most important: the amount of fires in the Amazon Rainforest in 2019 is up more than 80% from 2018. Fires here are normal and often regulated, and some speculate that this year's particularly arid dry season is to blame. Other's put more blame on Brazil's current president, Jair Bolsanaro, who's economic policies neglect the environment.
The lack of consideration over this natural resource is disheartening. Forget the 10 million plant and animal species that live there. Forget about the fact that it is responsible for recycling 25% of the planets carbon dioxide. The Amazon is also important in the regulation of global rainfall and is central in the function of all global weather patterns. Losing a significant portion of the Amazon rainforest will result in tangible differences in climate behavior and all of us will feel the effects of this.
A quick shout out to all your favorite animals in the Amazon: sloths, macaws, toucans, jaguars, kinkajous, poison dart frogs- the list is 10 million long.
But you know what's more important? Dollars. It's a major reason for why the forest is routinely burnt away, to make space in the name of "development." The best part is its not dollars, it's Reals, the Brazilian currency, which is worth less than a quarter of a dollar. Either way, money talks, and Brazilians aren't planning on slowing this money train down any time soon. Which is a real bummer for the rest of us who don't want to see the end of this rainforest.
It would be possible to save the forest and restore what is being lost, but only through an exhaustive and expensive campaign put forth by Brazil's government to stop the fires, sanction off the land, and protect and cultivate it for decades. Considering Brazil's president's narrow-minded greed, it's highly unlikely that this problem will stop anytime soon. It might just continue to get worse.
Losing the rainforest would affect all of us. Here's to hoping something is done in time. Otherwise, we will be witnessing one of the greatest tragedies in human history.