The Amazon is Burning; Here’s Why You Should Care

Opinion

The Brazilian government is making a concerted effort to burn the Amazon.  This will have serious consequences for the rest of the world.

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The Brazilian government is making a concerted effort to burn the Amazon. This will have serious consequences for the rest of the world.

Jayla DiNolfi, Staff Reporter

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The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world. It is the key to our planet, but it is currently slowly burning away. The forest is a habitat to more than 1,500 bird species, 1,000 frog species and 30,000 insect species per square kilometers. That is a lot of species and the Amazon burning is a situation that needs to be addressed, but our media is not giving it the attention it deserves. Around 20,000 fires burned in Brazil in September. It has recently been reported that there have been many hectares burned.

There are currently 906,000 hectares of areas that have been burned in the Amazon. The land is used for agriculture development. The Brazilian government under Jair Bolsonaro is essentially encouraging farmers to burn the Amazon. Why is he allowing farmers to do this and why isn’t anyone speaking up about this issue? He is destroying such a utility place that helps us breathe to make money of beef exporter.

Brazil is the world’s largest beef exporter. Farmers burn the land because they use it for their cattle and agriculture which is the process of growing crops or livestock.  The area stretches over 4 countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay. The Amazon didn’t just start burning, it’s been burning for years now, but people are only now hearing about the tragic burning of this forest. 

Although Brazil is a big beef export country out there; Brazil is helping create jobs for people. The jobs are harming their environment when there is probably an easier way to care for cattle and make money. Although it’s in our second nature to breath, with the burning of these forests, there won’t be anything that could provide us with oxygen. We must take a stand and if the Amazon rainforest vanishes, it would contribute to the severe climate change we are already experiencing. We would have severe climate change such as increased temperatures and changing rain patterns. We should take a view of our actions before we go through with them and look at the consequences.

The trees store carbon dioxide, which is toxic for humans to breathe. The leaves are also responsible for absorbing the sunlight needed for photosynthesis to take place. Which if the Amazon vanished we would have a lack of air circulation and then would make it harder for us to breathe and most likely die from lack of oxygen. Carbon dioxide helps plants and trees grow, forests species absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis storing carbon above and below ground, producing oxygen as the by-product. 

The world’s carbon dioxide levels have dramatically increased over the past 100 years. When a fire in the Amazon is burning it is releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. So far, there just being 20,000 fires in one month. That is a lot of carbon dioxide being released, so the amount of unhealthy air we breath is just going to keep increasing. 

The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is a major issue that is a cause of climate change but it also affecting humans and animals as a whole. For the past decade, one new species has been discovered every three days, including nine new primate species. At the rate of this, we will be losing species instead of discovering new ones. When the Amazon burns it’s not just taking away our oxygen it is taking away animal homes. The fires pose a serious threat to the Amazon’s delicate balance of ecosystems, putting pressure on already endangered species of animals. Animals have to go through a drastic change because it’s not just one animal losing its home but many. Animals can try to hide by burrowing or going into the water, be displaced, or they can perish. In this situation, a lot of animals will die, from flames, heat from the flames, or smoke inhalation. These animals aren’t adapting to fires so it’s going to be a harder time for them to cope with this change. 

The jaguars in the Amazon were already in danger before this year because farmers kill the jaguars to protect their cattle. Otters and fish are other animals that deal with habitat destruction and illegal hunting. As trees burn, ash is produced and makes its way into bodies of water which affects the otters and fish home because that’s where they live. Animals are just as important as humans are. They are living things and need food, water, and a home just like humans because people are taking all of that away from them without even thinking. Animals play a big role in our ecosystem. For example, jaguars are the top predators in their environment, so they control the populations of other species. This helps keep a balance in the food chain, and a healthy environment. Not just animals but indigenous people are losing their land, they are losing their homes. 

A tribe leader named Paulo Paulino Guajajara, who was also known as “Wolf” was killed and another member from his tribe was injured by illegal loggers in the Amazon for trying to protect the rainforest for intruders. Trying to protect his home a man got shot. He wasn’t just protecting his home, he was protecting many other’s homes and many animals home. That man was not dealt a fair card at all, all trees do is benefit us and help us breathe. Stop attacking people’s homes. 

There are many ways to help the Amazon, just by doing basic stuff. You can reduce your wood and paper consumption and eat less meat. If you wanna get more involved you can protect and buy an Acer of land. You can support indigenous populations due to their president having racist policies. Ethical Consumers can help you make informed decisions about what to buy, and who to avoid. 

You can donate to organizations, get involved in environmental activism, and sign a petition. Get out and help save our planet! We only have one planet so please take care of it. 

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