WHAT AND WHERE?
The Amazon Rainforest. What comes to our mind when we imagine them? The lush green beautiful and exotic trees like acacia, laurel, rosewood and its rare and unique wildlife including tapir, capybara and macaw. The Amazon rainforests are very aptly name lungs of the world as it filters and processes the whole world’s carbon dioxide. The rainforest helps to maintain the oxygen levels and the temperature of the world, supports a plethora of flora and fauna, is an important source of livelihood for tribal communities and has some rare and extremely important herbs which areas used in making life saving drugs.
Yet large parts of Amazon’s tropical rainforest are caught within the grip of a huge wildfire. This unprecedented threat has endangered not only Brazilians but the whole world. According to environmental experts the human activity in the region has reduced the forest cover to an alarming 65%. Farmers and ranchers often clear off the excess vegetation to either sell timber or for planting more crops. The current president of Brazil, Jair Messias Bolsonaro, a right-wing nationalist who intentionally denied climate change and last week went as far as saying that NGOs are intentionally setting fires in the Amazon to embarrass his government. However, Bolsonaro is not the first president to encourage large scale deforestation in his own country.
How is the rest of the world tackling this problem?
In the recent G7 summit which took place in Biarritz, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the President of Chile, Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera Echenique, have agreed to spend $22 million on the Amazon and send in aircrafts to spray water, over the huge swathes of burning forest. However, this simple gesture of help has turned into a diplomatic spat between Macron and Bolsonaro. Macron has accused Bolsonaro of lying about the blazing of the Amazon’s forest. Bolsonaro in turn has rejected any sum of money and refuses to open dialogue with Macron unless he apologizes for his comments.
Keeping the politics aside, this devastating fire has many biological, cultural and environmental repercussions. Undoubtedly, this danger requires a coordinated response from different countries across the world, so how can we hope to help? We should plant more saplings and take good care of the wildlife and flora around us. This small act may seem insignificant as compared to issue of Amazon but every small action on our part can help in preserving and protecting the environment around us and for future generations.