The Amazon rainforest, the vessel holding a massive amount of the world’s oxygen, is burning at a rate scientists have never seen before.
The Amazon is regarded as vital in the fight against global warming due to its ability to absorb carbon from the air. It’s often referred to as the “lungs of the Earth,” as more than 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen is produced there.
Brazil has the biggest share of the 670 million hectares of forest (60 per cent), which is home to more species than anywhere else on the planet.
But unlike in other ecosystems, scientists say the wildfires burning in the Amazon are not natural.
There seems to be claims surfacing that the current fire decimating the Amazon rainforest is NOT an accident but a purposeful act of ecocide, burning the fauna and flora to make space for animal agriculture and ranching.
Deforestation is considered the major contributing factor behind the alarming numbers.
Environmentalists have also put the blame on President Jair Bolsonaro, saying his policies have only threatened the forest more.
Bolsonaro has suggested that the data showing the increase in wildfires isn’t accurate — even going as far as to blame NGOs without evidence for starting fires. He said his government is working to control the fires, but it’s not clear what measures the administration is taking.
“I am waiting for the next set of numbers, that will not be made up numbers,” he said. “If they are alarming, I will take notice of them in front of you.”
What is causing the fires?
While wildfires in the Amazon are not entirely uncommon, the way they are spreading is driving concern.
While drought can be a factor in rainforest fires, INPE researchers have said there is nothing abnormal about the climate or rainfall amounts in the Amazon this year.
“The dry season creates the favourable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident,” INPE research Alberto Setzer told Reuters.
Human activities — farming, mining and drilling — are what scientists say are exacerbating the situation now.
Brazilian officials claim that there’s been an aggressive increase in deforestation since the election of President Bolsonaro in January.
In Brazil, cattle farmers start fires deliberately to clear forest to make way for ranching, and it’s not always legal.
In Mato Grosso and Para, where Brazil’s agricultural frontier has expanded and pushed into the forest basin, more deforestation has been recorded and wildfires have increased.
The World Wildlife Fund estimates that more than a quarter of the Amazon will be without trees by 2030 if the current rate of deforestation continues.
The fears surrounding deforestation have grown under Bolsonaro, who has vowed to develop the region for farming and mining since coming into office, ignoring international concern over deforestation and climate change.
Data from INPE suggests that since he took power in January, deforestation numbers have soared.
What has the response been?
Other countries working to fight climate change have started to take notice. Norway and Germany have pulled out of funding for projects to quell deforestation in Brazil.
Environmental groups have also not shied away from firing back at Bolsonaro.
Greenpeace called the president and his government a “threat to the climate equilibrium” and warned that Brazil would shoulder a “heavy cost” to its economy under his policies.
Sao Paulo Goes Dark as Smoke from Amazon Fires Blankets City
One post from an activist on Facebook reads as follows: ”We are witnessing an act of environmental terrorism and ecocide that will affect the whole planet and our future. The United Nations have to be contacted, this is an international emergency, they will keep burning everything they can. Think globally, act locally. Use the power of the internet, persuade people with influence to speak up, governments to act, and help organisations who fight for us all. The amazonian soil isn’t even good for agriculture and will become desertified in couple years. ”
I’ll leave you with this video below …
What If We CLEARED the Amazon? (Video)
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