The largest rainforest in the world is on fire. The Amazon basin acts as a safe haven for millions of plant and animal species and is widely believed to be the “Lungs of the Planet.” Spread over a stretch of 5.5 million sq. km, this rainforest plays a major role in maintaining the ecological balance of Earth.
In a technological world, the rainforest acts as a peaceful retreat for wildlife enthusiasts. Millions of tourists visit the Amazon every year hoping to have an experience of a lifetime. But now that this haven is burning, people have turned a blind eye to it. Despite the Brazilian Government terming this incident as a “domestic matter”, it’s actually an international crisis. Here are 8 reasons why you should sweat over what’s happening in the Amazon Rainforest:
- Forests burning at a record rate
More than 74,000 fires have been reported in Brazil since January 2019. . According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), which has been monitoring fire hazards in the country since 2013, this number is the highest ever. It is an 84% increase from last year’s figure over the same period.
- Amazon dry season
Forest fires are common in the Amazon during the dry season which lasts from July to October. The worrying aspect of this is that the season is at its peak in September. It’s possible that the situation might get worse in the coming month.
- Forest lost so far
Just to explain the gravity of the fire situation in Amazon, the amount of forest area being lost every minute is equivalent to 3 standard-size football pitches. Once destroyed, these forests shall take 20to 40 years to replenish, that is, without any further human intervention.
- Far-reaching impact
The scale of the disaster is so large that the smoke, from the fires in the rainforest, is travelling as far as the Atlantic Coast. Sao Paolo, which is about 3,200 kms away witnessed black skies on Monday afternoon. Even NASA’s Copernicus satellite has observed this smoke, as dark blots over the Amazon, from outer space.
- A resourceful Amazon
The Amazon Rainforest houses close to 10% of species on Earth, holds 20% of the freshwater available in the world and contains 40% of all the tropical forest. The Amazon’s burning and along with it, a huge chunk of Earth’s resources.
- International backlash over Brazil’s lax handling of the situation
The Brazilian Government has faced criticism,, from many administrations around the world, over its anti-environment policy and casual approach towards the incident. Major political dignitaries, like the German Chancellor and the United Nations Secretary General, have expressed concern over the crisis posed by this disaster.
- Carbon emissions
The Amazon Rainforest has released 228 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide this year. Other than that, toxic gases such as carbon monoxide are also being released into the air. The forests, that are supposed to absorb these massive amounts of CO2, are getting cleared away. At present, the world is dependent on the Amazon Rainforest for about 15% of its oxygen supply.
- Heat’s mounting
2019 is on the way to becoming the 3rd hottest year of Earth on record. While this statistic might be seen as a consequence of the recent natural hazards, it can also be seen as an indicator to how the Amazon Rainforest fire is a forewarning of what our Earth going to turn into.
How to help to save Amazon Rainforest from fire?
While it is understood that most people reading this article are not in the position to provide on-ground support for the suffering rainforest, they can make donations or spread awareness regarding the disaster. There are various organizations working towards bringing the Amazon back to normalcy. Following are a few suggestive options for those who wish to save the Amazon Rainforest from fire:
- Donate to the Amazon Watch, which is working towards protecting the rainforest and its indigenous people.
- Buy land in the rainforest through the Rainforest Trust and protect it from deforestation.
- Donate to the Amazon Conservation Team which is fighting against climate change and provides updates to people on the work they are doing.
- The World Wide Fund for Nature is protecting all the animal species in the Amazon.
- Sign Greenpeace’s petition asking the Brazilian Government to protect the rainforest.
- Spread the word. Share and forward the information to everyone you know. Follow #PrayForAmazonia, share credible data and images, and refrain from sharing misleading information.
All in all, let us show that the world will stand together in protecting this natural gift of Mother Nature.