It always burns in the Amazon during the dry months. But unlike in Canada and the US where numerous wildfires are sparked by lightning, large fires aren’t a typical, natural occurrence in the Amazon, especially in rainy years like this one. So, these Amazon Rainforest fires could only be caused by one culprit.
There have been more than 72,800 fires in Brazil since the beginning of 2019, a majority of which started in the Amazon region. This is according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). The research further revealed that the country had lost over 1,330 square miles of forest cover to development since the beginning of this year when JairBolsonaro became president. CNN equates the damage to more than one-and-a-half football field’s worth of rainforest being destroyed per minute.
According to different reports, the slash-and-burn tactics are due to the pro-development government policies. President Bolsonaro has encouraged farming and mining across both indigenous territory and biological reserves, and relaxed enforcement of laws against deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest since his inauguration. In fact, he made a ludicrous claim that NGOs are behind the fire.
What you should know about the Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon is the largest rainforest, supporting a vast range of flora and fauna. It is commonly referred to as the lungs of the world because of its ability to breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen that we need for survival. At the moment, the Amazon Rainforest generates about 20% of the world’s oxygen. If it burns down to the ground, we won’t just have the oxygen problem to contend with, but also lots of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that’s equivalent to 14 decades of all human-induced carbon emission.
How the Amazon Rainforest fires started
The ongoing fires didn’t start as a result of climate change or natural causes. Speculations show that the fires intentionally began as part of deforestation effort to create room for cattle grazing ground. However, according to the New York Times, the fires could have been intensified by climate change because they spread faster and burn even hotter as a result of the warmer conditions. And while this activity is considered unlawful, NYT explained that farmers and miners might have the audacity to burn parts of the forest because they are no longer scared of the repercussions from the Brazilian government, particularly under the reign of president Bolsonaro.
Where the Amazon Rainforest is situated
As mentioned earlier, the Amazon forest is the largest rainforest in the globe. It spans eight countries, including Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, and French Guiana. Brazil enjoys a whopping 60% of the rainforest. It houses 1 in 10 known species known to man, covers approximately 1.4 billion of forest and accounts for 50% earth’s remaining tropical forests. The forest accounts for 40% of South America continent or some 2.6 million square miles in the Amazon basin.
Fighting the Amazon Rainforest fires
Amid the international protests and outcry over the spread of fires in the tropical forest, the Brazilian government has deployed 44,000 troops to contain the burning forest. This is according to a report published in the USA today. The report further revealed that Emmanuel Macron, the French president, asserted that the G7 countries are concluding on an agreement to help Brazil combat the fire and fix the damage. Despite these efforts, the Brazilian president wasn’t welcoming to the idea, claiming that Macron was only launching gratuitous and unreasonable attacks against the region, and concealing his intentions behind the alliance of G7 countries that include the US, the UK, Japan, Italy, France, Germany, and Canada.
How you can help the Amazon tropical rainforest
As it stands, the Amazon Rainforest may not belong to all of us – but what happens to it affects all of us. So, if you are thinking about joining hands in fighting Amazon Rainforest fires, then you can donate to the Rainforest Alliance, an organization that focuses on educating people and businesses. You can also reduce your intake of animal products. According to CNN, cattle account for 41% of all greenhouse gases produced by livestock. Again, they are the reason the Brazilian farmers are chopping down the trees in the forest, to begin with.