S & S In Brief: The Amazon Rainforest

The  July fires in the Amazon Rainforest have sparked global outcry and rightfully so. This S & S In Brief provides a summary of why we need this green eco system, its bountiful nature, the accelerated rate of danger but most crucially the actions we can undertake to battle against the power of Bolsanaro’s lack of environmental agenda.

Last week was a holy smokes moment which sparked global outcry for many as Brazil sent in it’s army following international pressure to tackle the blazes ripping through the Amazon Rainforest. Our acquaintance with forest fires in recent times has become ever more frequent so I wanted to write a brief post outlining the current situation in the Amazon and why it has become increasingly crucial to create a climate solution prevent this at all costs.

Did you know that:

  • The Amazon Rainforest is home to 1 million indigenous people and over 3 million species including 50% of the world’s species of plants and animals
  • The Amazon provides approx. 25% of the drugs in the Western world  – this is only 5% of the plants that have actually been studied by scientists, highlighting there are a plethora of untapped resources
  • 10-15% of wildfires are started by natural reasons (humans responsible for the remaining)
  • The Rainforest Alliance estimates there have been over 72,000 fires in Brazil thus far in 2019 (an 84% increase over the period of last year)
  • During this, the equivalent of 228 megatonnes of carbon monoxide has been released, according to the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service- the highest level since 2010.
  • Whilst some reports claim the eco system of the amazon produces over 20% of the world’s oxygen supply, the true figure is likely to be no more than 6%, according to climate scientists such as Michael Mann and Jonathan Foley
  • Satellite data from Brazil’s space agency reveals trees were being cleared at the rate of five football pitches per minute.
  • Over the single month, 2,254 sq km (870 sq miles) were lost, a 278% increase on the same month last year.
  • Scientists say this year could be the first for 10 years in which 10,000 sq km of Amazon are lost.
  • In July 2019, 73 sq km of the Amazon rainforest was cleared every day. For scale, that is an area of London that stretches from Hyde Park to Tower Bridge. Over the entire month an area larger than Greater London was deforested

Since being propelled into power in January of this year, Bolsonaro’s affinity to loggers and farmers and the clearing of land in this beautiful green eco system can seem slightly daunting. Experts approximate the forest takes around 20-40 years to be restored if allowed to regenerate, however the positive story is that close to 80% of the Amazon is still intact.

Focusing and freaking on the negatives won’t get us very far – so what can we do?

  • Share this information on the current trajectory of destruction to increase awareness and demonstrate engagement to those in power
  • Lobby politicians and promote parties who champion and prioritise the protection of the environment within their manifestos and actions
  • Support incredible groups/organisations including the Rainforest Action Network, the Rainforest AllianceAmazon Team and WWF 
  • Sign Greenpeace’s petition to the Brazilian Government which asks them to take measures to save the Amazon rainforest. 
  • Purchase with purpose, shopping ethically and supporting brands that support the forests across the globe
  • Omit unsustainable palm oil from your life
  • Reduce your meat consumption as much of the rainforest is cleared to create grazing areas for cattle. When purchasing meat consider if it is certified by the Rainforest Alliance.
  • Friendly fire activities, i.e. put that shit out responsibly!
  • Go paperless  and reduce cardboard consumption (duh)!

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