Updated: Aug 31, 2022
By: Daisy Alvarez
The Amazon, located in Brazil, has been burning for a month and there seems to be no end in sight. Home to millions of species and natives, the rainforest is a vital ecosystem to our planet's well being and stability.
Latest on the Climate Crisis: The Amazon
One of the wettest places on Earth is on fire. The Amazon is reported to have been burning since the start of August and currently, there’s no end in sight. Brazilian firefighters have allegedly run out of funds to do combat and control the fire since the government of Brazil sees nothing as abnormal.
The Amazon produces 20% of the oxygen that we breathe, is home to millions of species and has been home to indigenous people for thousands of years.
The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, claims that the substantial increase of wildfires in Brazil are nothing to be alarmed about and all together has dismissed previous climate concerns. His demeanour remains cool as he’s certain the fires are the work of farmers using fire to clear land for agriculture purposes. Though this may be true to a certain extent, those who have burnt down part of the forest for agriculture are for cattle ranching and have been done illegally and have been encouraged by the president himself. Deforestation in Brazil have been a massive problem since the 1970’s. However, it’s been especially bad since 2005 and it seems to progressively getting worse.
According to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), satellite data shows that there has been an 84% spike in wildfire activity this year compared to 2018.
Additionally, a whomping 72,000 thousand fires have been reported since January of this year, which was also the month Bolsonaro became president and since then, conservationists say Bolsonaro is to blame since he has encouraged farmers and loggers to clear the land. Since he fired the director of INPE for being untruthful of the scale of deforestation in the Amazon. INPE’s director claimed his agency had a 95% but was ultimately “sacked amid the row” (despite having the support of several scientific institutions, the Brazilian Academy of Sciences being one of them). Based on NASA’s satellite, the fires can even be seen from space. Shockingly, up until August 20th most Brazilians were unaware of the disaster taking place due to the lack of media coverage. The Amazon is home to over 16,000 different tree species, 2.5 million species of insects, and some 390 billion trees altogether. Unfortunately. the Amazon is also a prime victim for deforestation. More than 20% of the Amazon forest is gone due to deforestation and is projected to be 40% in 20 years. The Amazon is a vital resource of Earth as it is responsible for 20% of the oxygen we breathe and absorbs carbon dioxide which helps battle climate change. The Amazon should be treated and preserved more than artwork in museums as it is absolutely necessary for the well-being of humanity and our planet.