I’m heartbroken. The Amazon Rainforest — an ancient source of life for the planet — is going up in flames. On Monday Aug. 19, the residents of Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo, were frightened by plumes of dark smoke from wildfires in the rainforest. This smoke lasted for more than an hour, plunging the sky into darkness at only 3 p.m, according to local news.
News like this can make you feel hopeless, but there is something you can do: boycott beef.
But let’s back up a bit first, and explain why the Amazon is so important to all of our lives.
This crisis didn’t start on Aug. 19. According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), the Amazon rainforest has seen an 83% increase in wildfires since 2018. The rainforest is supposed to be fireproof, but human activity and business interests push nature to seemingly impossible limits.
And Indigenous Brazilians have been at the forefront, protecting the “Lungs of the Planet,” despite the danger they face.
Indigenous leaders from the Amazon have told the world that far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s violent anti-indigenous rhetoric and destructive environmental policies are putting their communities — and the world — at risk. He has allowed companies to set fire to the Amazon and raid indignous lands, all in the name of profit. Since Bolsonaro’s regime began, there has been a 150% increase in illegal invasions of indigenous lands, according to Amazon Watch.
Indigenous people in Brazil have risked their lives to defend their land from poachers, loggers, and miners. A 2019 Global Witness report showed that 20 environmental activists in Brazil were murdered that year. Other Indigenous leaders, like Wajãpi tribe leader Emyra Wajãpi, were murdered in illegal land raidings.
Producing 20% of the earth’s oxygen and containing 10% of the world’s known biodiversity, this rainforest is considered to be “The Earth’s Lungs.” We all depend on it to survive…