The Problem in the Amazon

So, I had a whole other blog post prepared for this week about the plastic free picnic that I attended on Saturday, and I may still post it later. But after the events that have recently surfaced a much more serious post is called for.

Many of you will now be aware of the crisis facing the amazon rainforest, even though there has been shockingly little by way of new coverage. Whilst reading what news I could find about the events unfolding I was bombarded with outrage from the general public, not for what was happening to one of our most vital ecosystems, but about the movie rights of a certain fictional superhero. As I stared in horrified awe at the discord over the Spiderman custody battle, I was overcome with a sense of deja vue.

Just as news coverage about the burning of Notre Dame overtook the extinction of the Yangtze softshell turtle, the news that Spiderman will no longer be part of the MCU overtook the news that the Amazon rainforest has been burning for over two weeks now.

Now this is a disaster for a lot of reasons namely the following. The Amazon is one of our main barriers against ecological collapse. The Amazon rainforest has long been know as ‘the lungs of the Earth’ as it makes more than 20% of the worlds oxygen, as well as this it contains 10% of the worlds biodiversity. The disappearance of the Amazon rainforest would be catastrophic to our climate and result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of animal species. The Amazon is also home to over a million indigenous people who at this very moment are loosing their homes and their livelihoods.

Now don’t misunderstand, these fires are not a natural phenomenon brought on by climate change like the increased numbers of wildfires seen in the US in recent years. These fires are deliberate, set by loggers, cattle barons and farmers as a way of clearing the rainforest for commercial purposes. The Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has previously encouraged the deforestation of the Amazon, despite advice from scientists and his cabinet members on the importance of the rainforest.

Dishearteningly and suspiciously these fires started very soon after the Waorani People, an indigenous Amazonian tribe, won a lawsuit against ‘big oil’ to stop the sale of their sacred lands. This is he continuation of a historical trend where the rights and feelings of indigenous peoples are deemed unimportant, especially when the profits of western companies are concerned.

There have been many out there who have bought up the fact that the billionaires who were so ready to donate to the reconstruction of Notre Dame have been echoingly silent about this disaster, despite the fact that it is far more extreme and debilitating.

For those of you who are concerned about this and want to help out here are a couple of links:

The Rainforest Action Network – If you can donate here to protect and acre of the rainforest

The Rainforest Trust – By donating here you can help buy land in the rainforest and help protect it that way

The Rainforest Alliance – this website allows you to check whether or not the products that you are buying are rainforest-safe.

Amazon Watch – donate to this organization to protect the rainforest and the indigenous people that live there.

Ecosia.org – this is an eco-search engine that plants a tree for every 45 searches that you run. Try setting it as your default browser on your computer.

Sign the Greenpeace petition urging the Brazilian government to save the Amazon rainforest.

Also try reducing your paper and wood consumption to reduce the amount of trees that need to be felled each year. Reduce your beef intake, much of the beef found in processed meat and fast food comes from cattle farmed in land that used to be part of the Amazon.