Beware of the Burning Amazon Rainforest



As the Amazon rainforest burns, children flee the imminent danger.

Taima Abu El Hawa and Anjali Karkera

Catastrophically, the Amazon rainforest has been scorched with 2,500 active fires within 48 hours. Some consider the Amazon as the lungs of our planet. The lush tropics, located in the South American Continent (occupying countries of Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guiana, and Guiana), provide humans with 20 percent of all the oxygen existing in the atmosphere. 

In 2019, NASA was able to capture that the usual wet and humid season in July and August turned into an onset dry season. What this means is that there was a surge of activity found in early September, supposedly stopping in Mid November. The cause of this catastrophe is due to farmers clearing out lands for ranching, also known as deforestation. This is motivated by humans, specifically loggers and cattle ranchers, that utilize a “slash and burn” technique – an agricultural method in which vegetation is cut down and burnt for the purpose of clearing land. 

The question that people want answers to is why would the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, reject 20 million in aid from G7 leaders. The Los Angeles Times says that he felt like they were practicing colonialism. Furthermore, he blamed many environmental non-governmental organizations for the fires. When prompted for discussion, he retracted his statement and said that he had no written records and it was just a feeling. On the other hand, Jair Bolsonaro placed a 60-day ban on the destructive fires in the Amazon. Even with the ban, 4,000 fires were restarted throughout the rainforest. Though this ban prohibits the use of fire, developers can still log trees and burn them once the prohibition period is over. 

Regardless of your views on climate change, scientific research has proven that greenhouse emissions increase the likelihood of rising temperatures. However, as of September, there will be minimal changes. Trees play a vital role in the carbon cycle absorbing the atmospheric C02, and with the process of Photosynthesis, convert the harmful Greenhouse gases into the essential oxygen we breathe in. Therefore, the burning of trees prevents them from their functionality. 

To get more information on what the devastating effects of the destruction of the Amazon could lead to, The Green Hope Falcon interviewed AP Environmental Science teachers to see what they had to say regarding the Amazon rainforest. 

Q: How will the Amazon Rain Forest Fires Affect Biodiversity? How will it Impact people in the United States and People Globally?

A: Rush: “In Brazil, the rainforest is being destroyed and taken over by the savannah, so once you lose the rainforest, the rainforest perpetuates the rain so if you lose the rainforest, then you are basically turning into grassland which has drastically less biodiversity. It is going to impact people in developing countries and the United States by having cheaper food which does their burning to grow soybeans and sugarcane and crops that we enjoy having it cheap.”

Q: What Advice would you give North Carolina in order to improve this issue?

A:  Rush: “North Carolina citizens could put pressure on their legislature and the US government could put pressure on the Brazilian government, but at the top of this mindset, there is a similar mindset.”

Magee: “And even if there was an organized protest against burning down the rainforest, that is nice that brings awareness, but it has gotta move further up.”

Rush: “I guess Americans could put some kind of effort to better to subsidize the farmers for doing the burning, therefore they don’t have to burn, but ultimately the United States could give 14 percent of their crops.”

Magee: ‘Boycotting Farmers” 

Magee: “Countries that depend on that are the ones that are driving that burning so you don’t have a place to eat food.”

Remember, there’s always a way for everyone to contribute. To make a change that the world wants to see, there are numerous steps that you can take to raise awareness in protecting the rainforest. First and foremost, donate to organizations such as The Amazon Watch, Amazon Conversion, and One Tree Planted. Also, there is a new search engine called Ecosia, which plants 45 trees once you visit their website. It is critical to research the organization’s goal, as many people have unfortunately fallen for scams.  Remember, there are plenty of opportunities for you to help protect the Amazon Rainforest.