The Amazon is Still Burning, Here is What You Need to Know.


Photo Courtesy of Victor Moriyama/Greenpeace

Aerial view of the fires that sweep across the Amazon Rainforest

Holly Ikeda, Staff Reporter

The Amazon fires is an issue that has been put to the side in the main news. What most people think is a natural fire goes deeper into deforestation, attacks on indigenous people, global warming, and the consequences of one of Earth’s largest forests on fire. 

Though the exact day the fires started cannot be pinpointed we do know that they grew worse as time passed and the dry season continued. What most people don’t know is that fires have been plaguing the Amazon forest for a while. Since January 2019, 70,000 fires were reported in the Amazon rainforest, and that is 84% higher than in 2018 according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. 

How the fires start is a topic for debate. Brazil’s environmental minister Ricardo Salles said, “the fires were caused by dry weather, wind, and heat.” However, meteorologist Haley Brink states “the fires are definitely human-induced.” Christian Poirier, the program director of non-profit organization Amazon Watch added, “farmers and ranchers have used fire to clear land for a long time” allowing for businesses to make millions from deforestation. This could be the main cause of the fires that are destroying the earth’s lungs. 

As people benefit, others will suffer. About 350 indigenous people that live in the Amazon basin are dealing with the consequences of the fires and deforestation: smoke inhalation and burns, but also diseases like influenza and measles, people who attempt to forge documents to sell their land, and displacement. The whole world might start suffering the consequences of the fires and deforestation.

If enough of the Amazon rainforest is destroyed, we will reach the tipping point and if we do there is no going back; the trees in the Amazon rainforest produce 20% of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere. The Amazon Rainforest plays a role in stopping global warming. The smoke and carbon dioxide that is being released into the atmosphere is accelerating global warming and increasing the overall temperature of the planet. 

With the negative effects of the fires affecting our earth, more people have started to help battle against it. Your family can donate to organizations like Amazon Watch and Rainforest Alliance. Buying FSC-certified products and RA-certified products can help the environment. If you want to attempt making a difference you can even cut back on beef but that is a lifestyle choice for you to decide on. Continue to educate others and be aware of the environment.