Imagine that your lungs burst into flames — that’s what’s happening to our Earth right now, Alyssa Satara writes.
First published in August 2019.
The Amazon is known as the “Lungs of the Earth” because of its innate ability to absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. And yes, as a human I personally really appreciate the oxygen it provides me. I’m sure you do too.
Still, most of us tend to take each morning, each breath of air, or even the laughter of a loved one for granted. It kind of feels like human nature to not understand what we have until it’s gone.
So I ask you to take a deep breath in while you read this, let it fill you up. Hold it in. And peacefully let it out. But as you let it out imagine that your lungs burst into flames — that’s what’s happening to our Earth right now.
Beyond being the lungs of the Earth, the Amazon is home to one million indigenous people, three million species and it has been on fire for over two weeks.
In the age of the internet, Fox News and social media, we — as a society — tend to focus on only being reactive. With this, we miss the importance of being proactive and preventative.
This allows things to fall through the cracks, big things. Like the biggest rainforest in the world engulfed in flames for weeks before we found out kind of big.
So now that we are once again in a reactive state, I ask you to stop and figure out why the fire in the Amazon happened, how it got so bad, and what you can do to be a part of the solution.
There has been a global rise in fascism, and it helped start the fire in the Amazon, here’s how. Cause and effect my friends. Unfortunately, when we in the United States elected Trump as the next president of the United States — or when Russian interference did, whatever you believe is up to you — we set off a kind of fascist regime ripple effect.
Other countries around the world started to elect xenophobic, misogynistic, climate change denying, fascists into office.
One of the countries who did this was Brazil.
If you haven’t heard of him Jair Bolsonaro is the most recently elected president of Brazil. His nickname is the “Trump of the Tropics”.
Like Trump, he has no substantial background in politics. He calls real news fake. He says awful things to and about women on live TV. Oh, and he doesn’t care about climate change.
Which is why the sitting President of Brazil has cut funding and change laws regarding the preservation of the rainforest. In his term as President, Bolsonaro has dismantled 30 years of Brazilian Environmental Protections.
So why is he so pro-deforestation? Well, you probably could have guessed it — money.
When you cut down (or burn down) the rainforest you create a lot of space of industries to set up manufacturing sites. Which is extremely lucrative. Industries that have been doing this for years include the palm oil industry, cattle industry, paper industry, and the soy industry.
Bolsonaro has been avid about letting these industries, and industries like them, deforest the Amazon (and make lots of money doing it).
So, innocent bystander, what can you do to help?
Well, a huge reason this fire spread for so long with so little action is the Brazillian government’s denial of it, and lack of media coverage informing us on it. So a great way to help the issues is by staying on top of the story. With this continue sharing about it on social media. Use your voice, stay loud, demand action.
Another great way to help is by donating to groups who are working to protect rainforests including the Amazon — such as The Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund, Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Trust, and the Rainforest Alliance.
If you want to help long-term be a conscious consumer. Avoid supporting the cattle or palm oil industry for example. Your purchases are like a vote of support to these industries who have been destroying rainforests for decades.
And last but not least, vote politicians who don’t care about our climate — and our rainforests — out of office!🔷
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