The Amazon Rain Forest, known as the lungs of the planet, is on fire at this very moment. It's the largest rain forest in the world, making up over 40% of tropical forests on Earth. In addition, it's the largest absorption area of Carbon Dioxide on the planet, and it also produces approximately 20% of the Oxygen for all living things, including us. Known for it's spectacular biodiversity, to say the Amazon Rain Forest is an important part of our existence is an understatement.
The amazing Amazon houses at least 40,000 species of trees and 430 species of animals. In addition, the forest supports all these living plants and animals by producing 20% of the freshwater supply on the planet. It's mind boggling to think that a single place on Earth is responsible for all of this!
Cause of Fire
If you're familiar with the nature of a rain forest, then you know that wildfire is not exactly an unnatural phenomenon. The months of July and August make up the dry season in South America, especially in Brazil. But still, the number of fires in the Amazon in 2019 alone is staggering.
Even conservationists the world over are confused, as according to statistics the numbers are 80% higher than in 2018. Official records and images released by Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research show more than 80,000 fires burning. These fires are not only destroying trees, they are taking the lives of thousands of animals in the process.
Man-Made or Natural
Even though authorities are saying the fire is a natural occurrence, and common about every year, environmentalists the world over blame the deforestation initiatives. In the past, farmers and ranchers have historically been to blame. Their reasoning behind deforestation lies in their push for new lands for farming and cattle.
Lately, there's been a huge rise in demand for grazing pastures for cattle in the Amazon. Brazil is the world’s top exporter of beef and they're pushing to keep up with the demand for land. Many people are of the opinion that the fire is a result of greed, self-fulfillment, and a general lack of integrity and respect for nature.
Responsibility of the President
When elected, Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro pledged to ensure more industrial and economical development around Amazonian areas. The lesser-known incident of firing the director of Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research is also fueling the debate that the president himself is no stranger to patronizing the deforestation endeavors. According to the reports of Science Magazine, the forest fire is directly linked to the current deforestation activities in the Amazon Rain Forest area.
Devastation of this magnatude will result in a massive impact on our planet and the environment. In this one year, deforestation activity rose 92% compared to previous years. And as of August 2019, over 7,000 confirmed square miles of land has burned.
Impact to Our PlanetAccording to the report of the World Meteorological Organization, the forest fire released pollutants and toxic gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and non-methane organic compound into the atmosphere. The produced carbon dioxide will affect the environment by trapping the heat in the atmosphere and is theorized to contribute to the melting of the polar ice caps. This will result in a radical effect on climate change.
To summarize, future generations all over the world will most likely suffer from this tragedy by the hands of humans. So far, Seven Amazonian countries have signed a pact to protect the rain forest and monitor occurrences in it's best interest going forward. But for now, let's focus on stopping what has already been started.
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