Fires in the Amazon Rainforest

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Fires in the Amazon Rainforest

Lulu King, Staff Writer

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The Amazon Rainforest is burning.

These five words hold so much terror within them that nobody knows where to turn.  Fire has been around for longer than mankind, and its ferocious nature continues to rattle people to their core.  In the past five years, especially with the California Wildfires, the wilderness has been destroyed at a much more rapid rate than ever seen before.  Now, this rate has only worsened as the world is being faced with something we have seen coming for years: the Amazon Rainforest fires.

Across the world, wildfires have always been a problem, but not even close to the extent at which they are now.  In the Amazon alone, the number of fires has increased by 84% from last year, leaving the Amazon with over 80,000 total fires this year alone as of August 30th, and with over 9,500 separate fires burning at only one period of time.  The Amazon Rainforest is approx. 2.1 million square miles large, but within the past 50 years, 17% of that has been lost to the fires. The main cause of these fires actually happens to be from illegal forest clearing to make new farms, which then leads to a loss of water and therefore causes the soil to heat up.  This heated soil leads to massive droughts, inevitably resulting in numerous forest fires.

The most tragic aspect of the fires in the Amazonian Rainforest is the fact that the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, is actually not helping at all to put an end to the fires, and if anything, is only making them worse.  He fuels the fires of the Amazon Rainforest, believing that they are essential and a good thing for the country. He wants the forests to be cleared out, as he wishes to use the land for farming, lodging, and mining. This attitude is what causes him to want the fires to continue.  He has even gone as far as to deny a $20 million donation of international aid to help put out the fires that was proposed at the G-7 Summit. French president Emmanuel Macron suggested the idea, stating it to be a top priority of the summit. Though the idea seems irrefutable, Bolsonaro managed to refuse the offer, as he believed the fires to be a minute issue, and he is unwilling to side with Macron as a result of an “ongoing feud in which the two leaders have exchanged insults.”

Not only are these fires devastating to the Amazon Rainforest, but they are also detrimental to our environment.  The fires are resulting in a large increase in greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn leads to an increase in the entire planet’s temperature.  This increase in temperature can lead to droughts occurring all over the world, not just close to the Amazon Rainforest. Though the process of ending the fires lays a lot in the hands of politicians, the common folk can also take steps to help.  The Rainforest Action Network and The Rainforest Trust are both two reliable donation centers that aid in buying and protecting land. Another reliable organization to donate to is the Amazon Conservation Team which helps to fight climate change, protect the Amazon, and empower indigenous people.  Hopefully, with the help of knowledge and donations, the Amazon Rainforest fires will come to an end as quickly as possible.

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