Natural forest wildfires happen all the time — it is not an uncommon occurrence. But what’s happening in the lush green Amazon rainforest right now is nothing close to common. The fire has been raging for over 3 weeks now, and in case you are wondering why we are worried, you should know that 20% of the oxygen that we breathe comes from this region of the world. Records show that there has been an 84% rise in wildfires since last year which is alarming, to say the least. What’s unusual is that neither the media nor the internet has given this disaster enough attention or coverage. Here’s what we know so far.
Cause Of The Fire
As mentioned before, wildfires are common especially in the months of July and August. These are the drier months of the year, and usually, they stop completely by mid-November as rainfall becomes more frequent. Mostly, the fires are started unintentionally by local people clearing out land for ranching and farming. The recent wildfire is spreading alarmingly fast and with every minute, the Amazon rainforest is losing lands the size of a football field. It is looking like the real reason behind these fires are due to deforestation and land clearing operations.
How Bad Is It?
How bad is the current situation? Well, experts believe it is time to press the panic button. The smoke is visible from space, and last Monday, Sao Paulo, which is about 1700 miles from the wildfire, was covered in smoke for about an hour. There were 72,843 fires in Brazil this year alone, and the majority of them happened in the Amazon rainforest region. Since the Amazon region is known for its biodiversity and the wide variety of flora and fauna, saving this area to reduce climate change and environmental pollution is critical.
The Reaction So Far
Social media helped to raise awareness for the worrying fires and painting a picture of how bad the current situation really is. Though there has not been much coverage from media so far, they are catching up slowly. The response on social media has been overwhelming. The hashtag #prayforAmazonia and #Amazonrainforest are already trending. The president of Brazil is now under the radar, as experts believe that the clearing of the rainforest had increased since he took up office in January.
How It Will Affect Our Planet
Aside from Brazil, Greenland and Siberia are also facing wildfires. Moreover, worldwide droughts are causing environmentalists to worry over the state of matters. Clearing forests is putting our planet at jeopardy. Studies have shown that at the rate we are going now and deforestation continues and the state doesn’t have any policy to stop it, Brazil’s Amazon rainforest might become a savannah in about 25 to 30 years. Unfortunately, such a huge change will also bring about huge climate changes to our planet. The state of the Amazon rainforest has already been declared an emergency and we hope that the local government is doing everything to stop the fire.
What You Can Do
Although you can’t help douse the fire, what you can do is live a little more consciously and donate to charitable trusts that work in restoring and saving rainforests. Organizations like Amazon Watch, Amazon Conservation Team, WWF, Rainforest Trust, and Rainforest Action Network work tirelessly to the conservation of the world’s rainforests. You can also make small changes in your lifestyle to ensure less usage of paper and wood materials. Change.org already has a petition with 77,000 signatures that have been collected in order to have a formal investigation into the wildfires. You can also use the Ecosia.org search engine instead of Google. By doing so, a tree is planted for every 45 searches you make.
The Amazon rainforest may be situated in Brazil, but it affects the whole world and every single living creature on it and is the responsibility of the entire world to keep it safe and green. As the world’s largest tropical rainforest, the Amazon is home to thousands of plant and animal species and each plant and animal, no matter how small or large, affects the entire ecosystem of the world. It is time to sit up and spread the word about the Amazon fires as well as climate change and do our own bit to stop the destruction of our planet.