The Amazon is burning – what can we do about it?
For weeks the Amazon Rainforest has been on fire and the results are heart breaking. If you’re just hearing about it now it’s because of the lack of media coverage, despite it being such a paramount issue, and that in itself is very worrying. The Amazon is known as the lungs of the earth as it produces 20% of the oxygen we breathe so the future of climate change hangs in the balance.
While areas of the Amazon Rainforest are set on fire every year to clear land for livestock and crops this year more fires have been started than previous years. The fires have also been spreading due to the dry weather and the results are devastating. Almost 73,000 fires have been recorded in the Amazon rainforest this year so far which is 84% more fires than in the whole of 2018.*
The rainforest is home to an estimated 400+ tribes and makes up 10% of all the wildlife species we know about so what happens in the coming days and weeks is crucial. Naturally trees absorb carbon and produce oxygen but in this flip reversal the burning of trees is releasing a large volume of co2 into the atmosphere on an unprecedented scale. Find out you can help using our five tips below:
1. Use social media as a productive outlet
Post your thoughts and feelings about the situation and put it at the forefront of conversation – let’s make up for the lack of media coverage! For an easy alternative just re-post organisations posts on the matter, we need to get the word out there. The more people that are informed the bigger the impact!
2. Support charities and organisations through donations
The main fundraising campaign we’ve seen is WWF’s The Amazon is burning emergency appeal which will carry out work on the ground in Brazil. It aims to support local indigenous communities’ needs for medical support, fire fighter training and security, working with local governments on procedures for fighting fires and deforestation, and campaigning for stronger action from the government.
3. Sign petitions
There are multiple petitions being circulated so go ahead and sign them all. They include:
The majority of fires have been set to clear land for animal agriculture and as long as there is a demand for animal products, namely beef, the fires will continue year on year and increase in size. With Brazil being the world’s largest exporter of beef this practice is on the rise and it’s shockingly backed by Brazil’s President Bolsonaro. Meanwhile Finland’s finance minister has actually called for the ban of Brazilian beef imports for fears on the impact it’s having.
The best thing you can do is be informed about where your meat and dairy is coming from or if you can then cut down or cut out meat and dairy altogether. If the world went meat and dairy free we could reduce global farmland by more than 75%!*
5. Boycott products linked to deforestation
While this isn’t specific to the Amazon Rainforest and does link in with the point above, we should be more conscious of where our food is coming from and the effect it is having on the earth.
Palm oil is a big offender as it has recently become the most widely used vegetable oil in the world and is found in most food in the supermarket. Due to these oil palm groves the Bornean orangutan has lost at least 55% of its habitat over the past 20 years and has become critically endangered. By educating ourselves on the ingredients in our food we can make a small everyday change.
Lauren works for a public health charity, is our resident vegetarian (11 years!) and volunteers for an animal charity in her spare time. Her favourite eco product is the Face Halo.