Yes, Trump is inadvertently burning the Amazon.
Did you know that fires are burning in the Amazon rainforest at one of the fastest paces in years?
According to the National Institute for Space Research, which according to The New York Times, monitors fires using satellite images, reported yesterday that it had detected nearly 40,000 fires this year in the world’s largest rain forest, a 77 percent increase from the same period in 2018. Farmers who were clearing their land ignited the flames. Deforestation is a practice undertaken by farmers to increase the land they can farm on. Brazil’s far-right President, Jair Bolsonaro, accused his political opponents and NGOs of setting the fires in the rain forest after his government pulled their funding, however, no evidence of that has been provided.
Here is what we know. Deforestation of the Amazon has increased rapidly under Bolsonaro since he was elected in October. Sixty percent of the rainforest is contained within Brazil. Natural fires in the Amazon are infrequent. Therefore, humans set almost all fires that occur in the Amazon. With such an uptick in fires since Bolsonaro has been elected, and the fire season just starting, we must be sounding the alarm bells because the Amazon is considered the Earth’s lungs. The Amazon produces 20 percent of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere. That is oxygen we need.
So you’re thinking, so what? The United States isn’t causing any of this? Well, you are wrong. Brazil’s agricultural industry is booming with record exports of beef and soybeans. With such a booming industry, Brazilian farmers are creating more land to graze cows and grow soybeans. Their new President is allegedly pushing for this increase in trade. The reason being is that the U.S. trade war with China is contributing to the increase in Brazil’s export. China is turning to Brazil, which already exports $25 billion of the commodity each year, for soybeans rather than the U.S.
The trade war that the President of the United States has waged with China, is not only having a devastating effect on soybean farmers in the midwest or on the U.S. economy it is also the cause of the uptick in fires in the Amazon. Without a trade war the mad dash to create more land for cows and soybeans as soon as possible may not be this rapid.
A lot of what is happening in the Amazon is out of our control. However, there are some things we can do to help thanks to our friends at Newsweek:
First and foremost spread the word. Many people haven’t heard about the fires in the Amazon or even understand why they are happening. Show them. Tell them. Educate them.
Cut down on the amount of paper and wood products that you buy. One of the leading causes of deforestation is logging and the production of wood-based products. This includes paper. Try and cut down on your wood and paper products (but DON’T chose plastic)
Reduce your Fossil Fuel Consumption. Scientists claim that Climate Change partnered with deforestation will push our planet over a tipping point beyond which Earth will not be able to recover. The burning of fossil fuels into the atmosphere is the primary driver of climate change.
Stop eating so much beef. Cattle ranching, like the burning of fossil fuels, is another primary driver of climate change — thanks to methane gas. It is also a reason for deforestation in the Amazon. Farmers are cutting down and burning forest to make room for more animals. Brazil is already the largest exporter of beef on the planet.
Hold businesses and your government accountable. There are many businesses involved in the Amazon, whether they are selling soybeans or beef or lumber. Chose companies with a commitment to sustainability over those who ignore our planet. The U.S. Government also has the potential to impact on making a change in Brazil and the Amazon. Write, email, call, protest, and repeat!
Donate. Here are six organizations, thanks to Newsweek, you can donate to and learn more from: