The Amazon Rainforest gives breath to all of humanity and the most biodiversity on earth, producing more than 20 percent of the planet’s oxygen. It also absorbs and stores vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, that would otherwise accelerate global warming. Also known as the lungs of our planet, we now rely on this rainforest as a key player in our fight against climate change; in other words, our survival.
The Amazon rainforest has been destroyed and deforested by fires at the highest rates ever on record this year. Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) predicted an 80 percent increase in fires damaging the rainforest since 2018. This coincides with markers of climate change rapidly exacerbating, as evidenced only last week with the melting of Iceland’s first glacier, Okjökull. A funeral was held for the loss of Okjökull, as world leading scientists and activists fear that the ice is melting much more rapidly than expected.
The current wildfires have been observed from space by NASA, who report that the record-burning fires have been burning for up to three weeks, causing overcast smoke to cover São Paulo, Brazil. They are now spreading into Bolivia and a region of the Peruvian rainforest as well. There are concerns that the lighting of the fire may be related to Brazil’s intentions to develop the land. The reason for this is left to our ability to draw conclusions from the history of deforestation in the Amazon, which points to the 80 percent that has been used to produce beef and dairy, followed by the harvesting of palm oil and growing soy which is primarily fed to livestock, not humans.
This reiterates why animal agriculture has effects on the environment far and wide beyond the release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, which will continue until legislations change or until there is less or no demand for supply. As we know that we cannot wait to rely on the former, we must consider the environmental impact of what is on our plate. In addition to this, we need to avoid buying and boycotting all materials including food, furniture and paper that has come from the Amazon – palm oil especially.
Otherwise, there are two main things that we need everyone to do.
Firstly, as mainstream media do not prioritise the environment, we need to keep sharing photos, headlines, and our concerns for climate change to create social proof to government and non-governmental leaders, including big businesses, that we will no longer accept the status quo. There is power in numbers. As demonstrated in the documentary 2040, the rich, wealthy and powerful hiding behind large fossil fuel industries are potentially creating negative propaganda against climate change, to make vulnerable and uneducated to feel as though there is social evidence to suggest that the current crisis is a fallacy.
This is tempting to believe because it is an overwhelming truth, however, such propaganda has been accused of skewing election results as seen in the documentary The Great Hack, and when it comes to the climate, we simply don’t have a second chance. Even though it can feel like we are spreading fear and catastrophe, we must gain continued social momentum in order to have widespread actions of those in power.
Secondly, and most importantly at present, please support non-profit organisations that are fighting to protect the Amazon, such as Amazon Watch and the Rainforest Alliance. Every single dollar counts so please donate as little as $5. In a social media post, the Rainforest Alliance reported that they are redirecting 100% of donations made in August to those on the frontline of protection of the Amazon, and are simultaneously working with their global alliance partners to respond with a multifaceted crisis response.
Please leave a comment on our post @plantd.co to let us know how you’re feeling so that we can support each other, and how you are planning to help or donate. Don’t forget to hashtag #PrayforAmazonia. The only good thing about crises is that it is a powerful force to bring people together for a greater purpose, so please, take care of yourself and join us in our efforts to make a difference as a leading sustainability community.