What exactly are the Amazon fires?
They are a series of fires that have been raging through the Amazon rainforest. Slash-and-burn methods used to clear the forest to make way for agriculture, livestock, logging, and mining, lead to deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.
Where is this happening?
The Amazon rainforest is located in Brazil. It is the world’s largest rainforest, spanning a distance of around 2.12 billion square miles. It is invaluable to the future survival of the human species; it serves as the lungs of our planet, accounting for a quarter of the world’s carbon dioxide taken in by forests. It is also inhabited by diverse flora and fauna.
How many fires are there?
The true magnitude of the fires is disturbing. A study mentioned in the Washington post details that there have been 80,000 fires in 2019 alone.
Why have the fires happened?
There are a number of factors that have led to the dire circumstances of the present-day Amazon. The convention is to burn down trees to make space for cattle ranching, farming, and mining. This in turn makes the forest hotter and drier which unfortunately means that kindling for a forest fire is readily available. The abundance of flammable material only facilitates the spread of the fires.
Who is affected by this?
Primarily humans. Tribes living in the Amazon are losing their villages. Societies living around the Amazon have suffered medical consequences because of smoke inhalation. Airports have had to shut down and boat trips canceled because of poor visibility due to smoke.
However, the negative impacts are not limited to humans. The millions of wildlife species in the Amazon are losing their habitats at a seemingly unstoppable rate. THeir lives are also at risk due to smoke inhalation, as well as being trapped in the fire themselves.
A decision has to be made : do we let the fires continue to destroy the lifeblood of our planet,, or do we catalyse action and persuade governments and citizens come together and save the Amazon and protect the future?
The choice is clear. Let us invoke the power of the hashtag, and #SavetheAmazon!