Earth

Amazon Rainforest: Lungs of the Planet on Fire

Aug 22 2019 By Sriya

Roughly, half the size of the United States, the largest rainforest on the planet, Amazon plays a significant on role regulating the climate.

The Amazon Rainforest, most importantly holds more than 20 percent of the world’s oxygen and 10% biodiversity.

Sadly, right now the “lungs of the planet” is burning into flames and the world is silently watching it.

Right now, the Amazon rainforest fire is particularly alarming as scientists have said that trees are the planet’s first line of defense against global warming.

Noteworthy, The National Institute of Space Research (INPE) has recorded more than 74,000 fires so far this year.

However, in comparison to fires burned in the region last year, officials claim this one to be probably a record breaking fire.

Certainly, in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, fires are raging at a record pace.

That’s why the researchers have warned it to strike a catastrophic blow to the battle against climate change.

Furthermore, Environmentalists have blamed President  Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, saying  that his policies only threatened the forest more.

What is Causing the Fires?

The Amazon rainforest is typically wet and humid during July and August.

However, the early September and mid-November are considered as the driest months.

While drought can be a major factor in rainforest fires, INPE researchers claim the climate or rainfall amounts to be pretty normal this year.

According to INPE researcher Alberto Setzer, starting of a fire at Amazon rainforest could be the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident.

Additionally, he claims human activities such as farming, mining, and drilling to worsen the situation right now.

What Areas are Affected?

Brazil has the largest share of 670 million forest hectares (60%), home to  more than anywhere else on the planet.

Certainly, satellite images show fires in the  Amazons, Rondonia, Para and Mato  Grosso states of Brazil.

According to Euronews, the state of Amazons is the most affected ones.

As the Amazon rainforest generates more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and 10% of the world’s known biodiversity, the effects of damages are predicted to go beyond Brazil to its neighboring counties.

The World Wildlife Fund also estimates that more than a quarter of the Amazon will be without trees by 2030 if the current rate of deforestation continues in the future.

If the fire doesn’t stop, the world would drastically change, hence impacting everything from farming to the water we drink.

How Big is the Fire?

The European Union Earth Observation Program’s Sentinel satellites have captured images of ‘significant amounts of smoke” over the Amazons, Rondonia states and other areas.

Precisely, it means that you can see the Amazon rainforest fire from the space. Now, imagine how big it has become.

Later, the skies darkness over San Paulo, Brazil, for an hour Monday afternoon after winds carried smoke from about 1,700 miles away.

Why is the President of Brazil Being Criticized?

In Brazil, cattle farmers are deliberately  starting fires to clear forest in  order to make way for ranching, which is not always legal.

Brazil’s agriculture frontier has expanded and pushed into the forest basin in Mato Grosso and Para.

However, more number of deforestation has been recorded and wildfires have been increased in those areas.

The fear of deforestation has drastically grown under Bolsonaro, who has vowed to develop the region for farming and mining since coming into office.

Seems like Brazil’s far-sighted president has long been accused of neglecting international concern over deforestation and climate change.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, rolled into office on January 1st with a number of promises.

Restoring the country’s economy by finding other uses for the Amazon forest were one of the various promises he kept to his country and the citizens.

During his campaigns, he vowed that he would not set aside a single more land for Indigenous reserves, if elected.

However, one of the member of Climate Observatory told CNN that environmentalist and researches blames the president’s pro-business leadership for emboldening farmers to cut away the Amazon land.

The recent research of INPE showed an 88 percent increase in deforestation in June compared to past few years.

However, Bolsonaro responded by attacking the data from INPE, reporting it to be fake.

Later, he even fired the head of the agency, director Ricardo Galvao, calming the research to be inaccurate.

The story doesn’t end here, in fact the president even claimed the non-government organizations to be burning down the Amazon rainforest to bring shame to his government without any evidence.

He even indicated everything towards NGOs for being responsible without any proof for his allegations.

What has the Response Been?

Social media has already started the hastags #Prayfor Amazons and #AmazonRainforest.

Twitter users criticized media for giving less attention to this massive loss at Amazon rainforest.

Countries working to fight climate change have started to take notice.

Also, countries like Norway and Germany have even pulled out of funding for projects to quell deforestation in Brazil.

Additionally, Nasa has been monitoring the fires. The Aqua satellite and Sentinel 3 have been tweeting images of the smoke in social media over the past few weeks.

Many environmental groups have not shied away from firing back at the president of Brazil.

Jair Bolsonaro has been continuously facing criticisms with people charging him with lack of action and encouraging logging and farming at the Amazon rainforest.

Greenpeace called the president and his government a threat to the climate equilibrium and also warned that Brazil would shoulder a heavy cost to its economy.

How can I help?

It’s unlikely you’re one of the people who can actually help douse the blaze unless you hop in plane and fly to Brazil with a firehouse.

However, rather than watching the fire burn and feel sad about it, there are few ways through which you can contribute to the rainforest now and for the future as well.

So, hurry up go through the following steps if you want to contribute in Amazon rainforest fire as soon as possible.

  • Protect an acre of the Amazon rainforest by donating to Rainforest Action Network.
  • Help buy land in the Amazon rainforest by donating to Rainforest Trust
  • Support the Amazon rainforest’s indigenous populations with Amazon Watch
  • Help protect animals living in the jungle with World Wide Fund of Nature
  • Likewise, reduce paper and wood consumption or buy safe products through the Rainforest Alliance.
  • Protect the Amazon rainforest and empower indigenous peoples by donation to the Amazon Conservation Team
  • Support arts, science, and other projects that raise awareness about the Amazon rainforest through the Amazon Aid Foundation
  • Plant a tree for every 45 searches you run with the help of Ecosia.org
  • Most importantly, reduce your meet consumption and go vegan

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