Amazon Fires Are a Tipping Point For Change

This past summer, blazing fires in the Amazon reached new heights.

This year alone, there have been 74,000 fires in the Amazon, according to Global News. The forest once considered to be “fire resistant” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now ablaze, revealing just how far human degradation of the planet has persisted.

How has one of the wettest parts of the planet become so prone to fires? Just like many environmental issues, the fires were started by human activity.

Specifically, cattle farmers have intentionally started fires in the Amazon to clear trees for ranching. Global News reported that this activity has been encouraged by Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro.

Tropical rain forests play an essential role in our planet. As most of us know, the trees take in carbon dioxide, a great contributor to climate change, and release oxygen into the atmosphere.

But something that not all of us may know is that tropical rainforests actually affect our weather patterns. The leaves from the trees release water vapor into the atmosphere. This water contributes to generating rain while cooling the local climate. Tropical rainforests are a significant part of maintaining our climate temperatures.

The loss of rainforests would only accelerate global warming and lead to irreversible consequences. Even though the Amazon seems so far away in Brazil, it plays a vital role for the entire planet. This makes the Amazon fires not just a Brazilian problem, but an Earth problem.

We all need to pitch in to solve this problem. We don’t need to be politicians to make a difference. The little things we can do in our daily lives can benefit the Amazon and environment, such as:

1. Reduce meat consumption, especially beef.

2. Donate to organizations such the Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Alliance, Amazon Watch, and World Wildlife Fund.

3. Look out for products that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Rainforest Alliance (RA).

4. Become involved in environmental activism through the Sunrise Movement and the People’s Climate Movement in the US, which are pushing for a Green New Deal.

It’s our generation and generations to come that are  going to be affected by climate change. Climate change is underway and the main culprit is us.

It’s unfair that millions of species have lost their homes because humans started the fires in the Amazon. It’s unfair that future generations may be forced to live in devastating conditions because we refused to take action.

Our immediate wants are not important enough to jeopardize our entire planet and future. So let’s do something about it.