Tragedy has struck our planet Earth. For over three weeks now, Brazil’s once lush green Amazonian rainforest is burning up in smoke. And if current reports are to be believed, the fire is now spreading into the Amazonian rainforests of Bolivia and Peru as well.
Spread across 9 nations and with an area of approximately 5,500,000 km2, Amazonia is (we’ll probably have to write ‘was’ after the fire ends) home to over 300 billion trees, 2000 bird species, over 2 million insect species, 300+ types of reptiles, approximately 2000 fish species, 400+ types of amphibians and around 400+ species of mammals. And all of these are in danger due to the forest fires.
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In the year 2019 alone, almost 73,000 fires have been recorded in the Amazon rainforest. This figure is already 83% more than recorded fires in the whole of 2018. These alarming statistics are due to several reasons, one of them being deforestation. Forest land in Brazil is being cleared and prepared for agriculture, ranching, mining and other business opportunities in the Amazon forests. And generally, this is done through setting fires to the allocated land area. While this has unfortunately been happening for a long time now, this year, the surface area along with the intensity of the man-made fires was much more than any of the previous years.
Another reason for the tragic fire is the current dry season. Although the Amazon basin is wet and humid the rest of the year, the months of July and August are the onset of the dry season in this region. This leads to naturally occurring jungle fires which spread rapidly across the dry parts of the rainforest.
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Sitting in this part of the world, far away from Brazil and the Amazonia, why should we be concerned about the rainforest fires, you ask? Well, the Amazon rainforests are considered to be the lungs of our planet; they generate over 20% of the world’s oxygen and play a huge role in regulating our planet’s climate. If, hypothetically speaking, the Amazonian rainforests were to disappear, our world would go on the brink of extinction! Everything will change, from the oxygen we breathe to the water we drink to the food we consume. So yes, we should most definitely be concerned about these jungle fires.
A ray of hope that we can all hold on to now is the fact that there have been reports of scattered rainfall across the region. While the fire stills marches on, let’s hope heavy rainfall does its part in extinguishing the fires.
What can be done to curb the rainforest fires? Because most of us can’t physically go and try to control the raging fire, most of us are probably not even qualified to do so. Well, there are other ways. Here’s how we can help to protect and preserve the lungs of the planet:
- You can donate to the Rainforest Trust. Since 1988, it has managed to save 23,091,559 acres of rainforests across the planet. You can also consider donating to the Rainforest Alliance.
- Once the fire recedes, you can go on a volunteering mission to Brazil. You can be a part of the relief work as well as be a part of the tree plantation drives in the Amazon basin.
- You can make a donation at the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF). With the help of your donations, WWF will be able to “identify the most affected areas, support community services to reduce the fires and offer emergency relief where it’s needed, raise awareness to take action against the fires and deforestation, and advocate for stronger laws in the Brazilian parliament”
Let’s all come together to help Earth recover from this disaster. And let’s remember that this planet does not belong to us, rather, we belong to this beautiful planet.