Since January, 72,000 fires have blazed in the Amazon Rainforest, and that number is likely to go up in the coming weeks. Christian Poirier, the program director of non-profit organization Amazon Watch, said the “vast majority of these fires are human-lit” in another article.
The Amazon is called the lungs of the world for a reason. It is nearly four times the size of Alaska and the world’s sink for storing carbon dioxide. It is a key element in restraining any type of major climate change in the future.
It shocked me to find out that fires had been burning all year and only now are people starting to find out about and spread awareness for the fires that could destroy the biggest forest in the world and damage our climate permanently.
People have turned a blind eye to this epidemic for too long. Let me shed some light on the subject and let the residents of New Haven know why we should be doing everything we can to prevent the fires in the Amazon, and what will happen to us, sooner than you would think, if we don’t.
I sent out a Google form to my fellow peers and the staff of NHHS to get their opinions on the fires, how they feel we could help, or how it will affect us in the long run if the fires get worse.
One of the questions asked in the form was, “What do you feel should be done to stop or slow down the fires?” Many people had similar answers to Hunter Garren, senior, who said, “I don’t think there is much we can do to halt or slow down the fire. I feel that forest fires are a naturally occurring thing and it will run its course and, over time, will greatly benefit the rainforest.”
While this is a good point if you are speaking of any other forest, the Amazon is a different story. The Amazon is a very complex ecosystem that is one of a kind and would take tens or hundreds of generations to regrow-- that is, if it could even regrow in the first place. Many scientists say that the Amazon is nearing a point of no return with the excessive deforestation and now the man-made fires that are destroying up to 5 acres a minute. This means that if we continue to let the fires burn we could lose the only thing holding us back from the world’s climate, as a whole, reaching an unlivable point.
Also, there is more we can do to help with the fires and deforestation than you think. There are organizations like Amazon Watch, Amazon Conservation Team, Survival International, Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Trust, etc., that you can donate to in order to help the Amazon now and in the future. You could even go so far as to travel to Brazil and protest the government with many others to try and get the Brazilian president to put aside his selfish wants and realize he could be affecting the world as a whole.
In the Google survey, I also asked students and staff, “How do you feel the fire is affecting our community in New Haven, or how it may eventually affect us?”
It was very scary to see that the majority said that these fires wouldn’t affect us in New Haven at all. On the contrary, the fires could potentially affect not only New Haven but the whole world. The Amazon burning down would cause global warming to increase at an alarming rate. The destruction of the Amazon would increase the carbon content in the atmosphere by roughly 9.2%.
The Amazon’s unique species of animals and one-of-a-kind ecosystem would be gone forever and the land would be turned into a savanna and grassland. The global temperatures would rise and everyone would be affected-- even us, in our tiny town in the middle of Missouri.
I believe everyone should do as much as they can to help this urgent and important cause, or we could end up truly regretting turning a blind eye out of ignorance.
We all have a part to play in our world. We have a chance to make a difference for the better and I hope reading this has encouraged you to help put out the fires in the Amazon.