THE AMAZON RAINFOREST BURNS ON

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THE AMAZON RAINFOREST BURNS ON

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Riley Austin, Staff Writer

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The Amazon rainforest has been burning ceaselessly for weeks. The rainforest which covers approximately three million one thousand square miles is at risk, and environmental activists are trying to fight climate change before it becomes completely irreversible. Before tweets were posted about the condition of Sao Paulo, most people were unaware of the fires. The tweets mentioned how Sao Paulo’s sky turned completely dark and smelled of ash due to the fires around 2052 miles away. Pictures of Sao Paulo’s sky and hashtags like #PrayForAmazonia and #ArmyHelpThePlanet began to trend on Twitter and alerted people of what was happening in Brazil. Aerial pictures from NASA were also shared to show the extent of what Sao Paulo was going through.

Since January of this year, there has been an 80% increase in wildfires from 2018. Most fires are human caused. The farmers use a slash-and-burn technique for farming which during the dry season, August to November, starts substantially more fires than the rest of the year. Since deforestation is ultimately boosting Brazil’s economy, not much is being done about the fires. Deforestation is boosting the economy by providing farmers more area for their crops. Most activists and the environmentalist group, Greenpeace, blame Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, saying that his policies threaten the forest’s well-being. Although most people blame

Map of the burning Amazon
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the president for the state of the forest, some things are being set into motion. On August ninth, Brazil declared a state of emergency and has since strengthen the laws on the illegal slash-and-burn agricultural technique. Deforestation threatens the lives of large amounts of animals living in the rainforest and the dozens of indigenous tribes that have lived there for years.

The Amazon rainforest is said to be at least 10 thousand years old. By most people, the Amazon is considered “the lungs of the planet” since it produces about one fifth of the oxygen on the Earth. The rainforest is home to approximately ten million animals, which is at least ten percent of the world’s animal population. The rainforest is also home to a large variety of plant life, and rich biodiversity near the Amazon River. Carbon from the trees are being released at an alarming rate and viewed as one of the most damaging consequences of the Amazon fires.  A tropical biologist, Emilio Bruna, stated, “You’ve taken thousands and thousands of years of carbon accumulation, you’ve vaporized it and you’ve put it into the atmosphere,” Bruna continued, “[We’re] not going to have an equivalent rainforest for hundreds of years. And that’s hundreds of years we don’t have.” Most view the rainforest to be one of the last chances to reverse the damage of climate change. As of now, some scientists say the rainforest is getting to the point where we cannot fix it. 

Information Obtained by: CNN, National Geographic