The burning of the Amazon


Graphic by Angelina Zheng

Samantha Katovich, Contributing Writer

The Amazon Rainforest is slowly charring to a crisp as it is being overrun by large forest fires. Many believe that the fires are an effect of global warming hitting a dangerous high. While this certainly is true, it’s not the only cause of the severity of the burning. Making things worse are Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s stubborn behaviors. Many offers of aid have been declared by other countries, yet Bolsonaro still will not accept, due to the fact that he reportedly approves of the burnings because they allow for more land to be produced when the fires burn them. The Amazon, which, according to CNN, accounts for 20% of Earth’s oxygen, allegedly started burning due to human miscalculation and the uncommonly dry season that hit Brazil this year. Many attempts to fix the spread of the fires are possible and can occur, yet Bolsonaro has done little to nothing to aid the fires due to his adamant personality and large ego.

Although Brazil has sent many firefighters, soldiers, and even volunteers out to fight the fires, the fires continue to rage on as it nears the four week mark. This is partly due to the fact that Bolsonaro refuses to accept any international aid until French President Emmanuel Macron apologizes for making rude comments about him. The international dispute began after Bolsonaro responded to an uncalled-for comment about Macron’s wife, and then refusing to apologize for it once confronted. Macron has offered 20 million dollars in aid and has even called the burnings “an international crisis,” yet Bolsonaro continues to refuse the money. These poorly-planned actions will lead to the overall fall of the rainforest and a dangerously permanent destruction if not resolved.

Forest fires are a common problem in many dry terrains, especially in places that reach high temperatures. What makes the Amazon Rainforest fires different from other occurrences is the reason for why it’s still burning so severely: the ever growing problem of climate change. The problem of global warming continues to grow due to lack of political or societal attention. While it is obviously occurring in this day and age, many refuse to believe that it’s an actual problem, including politicians like President Donald Trump, who claims that since other countries have large amounts of snow and rain, global warming isn’t actually occurring, which could not be farther from the truth. Global warming, which has been ongoing for fifty years, has begun to worsen as time goes by. Mainly due to the production of greenhouse gases, it causes extreme weather to hit more often.

The fires have resulted in large clouds of smoke devouring the cities and towns, some 1,700 miles away. The smoke completely blocks out the sun in many places, causing the sky to appear like it is night at all times. If the fires continue to worsen, they could potentially destroy a large segment of the Earth’s oxygen, which would not only be detrimental to humans, but also the many species of animals and plants that live there. There are also many native tribes who live in these areas who have been forced out of their homes and land because of the fires. They also release carbon dioxide into the air and will lead to harmful effects if the numbers continue to intensively grow.

While any attempts at recovery might seem futile right now, there are actually many ways to help out in saving the rainforests. Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Trust, and World Wide Fund For Nature are only a few of the many organizations working to help save the Amazon Rainforests. These three, like many others, are all working to not only protect the rainforests themselves, but also the many species that live in them. Other ways to help include refraining from using large amounts of paper and wood, eating less beef, and speaking out to other people so that everyone can learn what’s going on in a large portion of Earth. The more people that make a change and share their ideas means the more influence that they have over the health of Earth because the Amazon Rainforest is just one part of the terrifically beautiful Earth. If this can be saved, why can’t everything else? There is only one Earth. Make it count.