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World Report View


by Meena Pandey | 30-09-2019 22:34 recommendations 0

Nearly 40,000 fires are burning in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, the latest outbreak in an overactive fire season. Don’t blame dry weather, say environmentalists. These Amazonian wildfires are a human-made disaster. Nearly 40,000 fires are incinerating Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, the latest outbreak in an overactive fire season that has charred 1,330 square miles (2,927 square km) of the rainforest this year. Don’t blame dry weather for the swift destruction of the world’s largest tropical forest, say environmentalists. These Amazonian wildfires are a human-made disaster, set by loggers and cattle ranchers who use a “slash and burn” method to clear land. Feeding off very dry conditions, some of those fires have spread out of control. Brazil has long struggled to preserve the Amazon, sometimes called the “lungs of the world” because it produces 20% of the world’s oxygen. Despite the increasingly strict environmental protections of recent decades, about a quarter of this massive rainforest is already gone – an area the size of Texas.
While climate change endangers the Amazon, bringing hotter weather and longer droughts, development may be the greatest threat facing the rainforest.Here, environmental researchers explain how farming, big infrastructure projects and roads drive the deforestation that’s slowly killing the Amazon.
1. Farming in the jungle
Rachel Garrett is a professor at Boston University who studies land use in Brazil. She said:
Deforestation is largely due to land clearing for agricultural purposes, particularly cattle ranching but also soybean production.Since farmers need a massive amount of land for grazing, Garrett says, they are driven to deforestation.Twelve percent of what was once Amazonian forest – about 93 million acres – is now farmland.
2. Infrastructure development and deforestation
President Bolsonaro is also pushing forward an ambitious infrastructure development plan that would turn the Amazon’s many waterways into electricity generators.The Brazilian government has long wanted to build a series of big new hydroelectric dams, including on the Tapajós River, the Amazon’s only remaining undammed river. But the indigenous Munduruku people, who live near the Tapajós River, have stridently opposed this idea.
3. Road-choked streams
Roads, most of them dirt, already criss-cross the Amazon.That came as a surprise to Cecilia Gontijo Leal, a Brazilian researcher who studies tropical fish habitats. She wrote:
I imagined that my field work would be all boat rides on immense rivers and long jungle hikes. In fact, all my research team needed was a car.
4. Rewilding tropical forests
The fires now consuming vast swaths of the Amazon are the latest repercussion of development in the Amazon.Set by farmers likely emboldened by their president’s anti-conservation stance, the blazes emit so much smoke that on August 20 it blotted out the midday sun in the city of São Paulo, 1,700 miles (2,736 km) away. The fires are still multiplying, and peak dry season is still a month away.Apocalyptic as this sounds, science suggests it’s not too late to save the Amazon.Tropical forests destroyed by fire, logging, land-clearing and roads can be replanted , say ecologists Robin Chazdon and Pedro Brancalion.

Health Effects, Near and Far
There are immediate impacts from the fires for people living in the area, Cesareo says. About 34 million people live in the Amazon, the World Wildlife Fund estimates, including about 385 groups of indigenous people. Those effects are far-reaching as well:
Air quality: If the forest continues to burn, it will release a vast amount of carbon dioxide pollution into the atmosphere," says Adrian Forsyth, PhD, co-founder of the Amazon Conservation Association and executive director of the Andes Amazon Fund.
Nighttime levels of particulate matter, small enough to lodge in the lungs, have been found at extremely high levels near the rainforest. "We are talking about concentrations of up to 20 times the EPA standard," says Douglas Morton, PhD, chief of the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
Air quality in the U.S. is not expected to be affected, Morton says.
There’s also smoke. "The smoke travels a long way," Forsyth says, and that's been true for decades. "Some years you can't fly into countries like Bolivia. There is so much smoke, it shuts off all the air traffic."
Weather patterns: Rainforests add water to the atmosphere when plants release water from their leaves during photosynthesis. When forests burn, there is less moisture released into the atmosphere, which can mean less rainfall. ''There could be impacts to the rainfall patterns as far away as the U.S.,” Cesareo says.
Medicine: Quinine was the first effective medicine to treat malaria and came from cinchona trees. Many anti-cancer drugs come from rainforest plants. Compounds from rainforest plants are used in drugs to treat high blood pressure, glaucoma, tuberculosis, and other health problems.
Disease: "When forests are cut down, we often see disease outbreaks,” Cesareo says. Researchers have linked the felling of forests to rises in malaria and dengue fever, for instance.
Mental health: "People are messaging me, saying how hopeless they feel as they hear all this news," Rosolie says. Twitter is overflowing with messages of angst and calls to action, some urging people in expletive-laced tweets to care. Said one: "Everything on Earth is dying, the Amazon forest is burning, everyone is hopeless." The hashtag #prayforamazonia has sprung up.
The worry by climate emergencies is a real health issue.
Staying Positive, Taking Action
1)protect an acre of land
The Rainforest Action Network has been working since 1993 to protect the Amazon one acre at a time. Its Protect An Acre grants have helped to support more than 200 front-line communities and Indigenous-led organisations as they work to protect millions of acres of forest around the world. Protect An Acre helps local activists regain control of sustainably managed traditional territories, and fight against human rights abuses frequently associated with logging, pulp and paper mills, mining and other extractive industries.

Buy some land
Similarly, the Rainforest Trust works with communities to buy land to protect it from logging, mining, and slash and burn agribusiness. You can support its work by buying some land and helping it to support local communities in preserving the Amazon for future generations.
3. Support Indigenous populations
Bolsonaro’s racist policies and anti-Indigenous rhetoric have emboldened those who seek profit at the cost of Indigenous rights and livelihoods. Amazon Watch works on behalf of and with Indigenous allies, providing direct funding and support to help them defend their territories and their rights, for example by lobbying governments, exposing destructive corporations and training Indigenous communities.
This work will continue to be important long after the fires are out — Bolsonaro is on record as saying the 900,000 indigenous inhabitants of Brazil should not have even a millimetre of space.
4. Reduce your wood and paper consumption
While many of the fires have been set to clear land for agribusiness, setting fires is also part of the process of extracting timber. Large areas are often burned to access trees for felling or to create access to other areas of the forest. Reducing the amount of paper and wood we use is a good way to help reduce commercial pressures on the Amazon, as well as other forests. Where it’s harder to reduce consumption, look for rainforest safe products with the help of the Rainforest Alliance.
5. Eat ethically — yes, less beef
Consider more carefully what you eat. Beef is especially destructive, as it requires huge amounts of land for grazing — space often created through the burning of forests. Cattle ranching accounts for about 80% of the forest cleared in the Amazon. An area the size of Ireland has also been cleared for growing soybean, which is then exported as cattle feed to support the beef industry around the world.
Many of us find it hard to go fully vegan, but even reducing cheese, beef and pork consumption, and throwing away less can all help to reduce the intense pressures food habits place on forests and other ecosystems.
6. Vote
Think about how you vote. Strongman nationalism and right wing politics are usually bad for the planet and the environment, and the fires are no exception .Avoid politicians who support deregulation, extraction and subsidy of fossil fuel resources, and who are more accountable to corporations than to those who have elected them.
Most of us can’t vote in Brazil, but our own politicians have shown that they are complicit in their lack of action. The $22 million in aid offered by the EU (and intially rejected by Bolsonaro) to fight the fires pales in comparison to the UK’s $50 billion defence budget, for example. Wherever you are, vote for someone with enough ambition to stand up for protecting the planet rather than their job, or corporate interests.
Related: A 'Third Way' to save the Amazon: make trees more valuable
7. Get even more political
Voting doesn’t happen too often, so we need to get political between votes. Write to or call your representative. Tell them that they must use their position to put pressure on your own and other governments to take action. The EU’s recently signed trade deal with Mercosur, an economic bloc including Brazil, has yet to be ratified, and Ireland and France are already using this to leverage action on deforestation. More could do the same.
You could also put your name to collective actions, like this petition from Greenpeace. And if you can, join a protest to show those in power that we want to safeguard the planet.
8. Challenge corporations
Perhaps the most important way we can really leverage our weight is by challenging corporations. Companies, not individuals, are the most destructive force on the planet. We can hit those who contribute to the Amazon’s downfall in the pockets by not buying their products — organizations like Ethical Consumer can help you make informed decisions about what to buy, and who to avoid. We can call them out on social media. We can tell our representatives that we want them properly regulated, and punished when they don’t comply. 


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  • Dormant user Meena Pandey
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  • Bindu Dhakal says :
    Hello Meena didi,
    Hope you are doing great,
    Thank you so much for your report,
    Keep writing,
    Green Cheers,

    Posted 18-07-2021 21:02

  • Hema Sapkota says :
    Hello meena
    I hope you are doing well!
    Nice report
    Keep writing
    Thank you so much for this report!

    Looking forward to reading some more reports.
    Green cheers!

    Best regards
    Posted 19-03-2020 11:40

  • Ishma Gurung says :
    Greetings meena
    I hope you are doing well

    Thank you so much for this great report
    I hope to read more from you!

    Green cheers
    Posted 17-03-2020 12:28

  • Ishma Gurung says :
    Greetings meena
    I hope you are doing well

    Thank you so much for this great report
    I hope to read more from you!

    Green cheers
    Posted 17-03-2020 12:28

  • Susmita Horticulturist says :
    Hello meena
    I hope you are doing well.

    Thank you so much for this report.
    Green cheers
    Posted 07-03-2020 18:50

  • Horticulturist Susmita says :
    Hello meena
    I hope you are doing well
    Thank you so much for this report
    Posted 01-03-2020 10:28

  • Meena Pandey says :
    Thank you Prakriti!!
    Posted 02-10-2019 13:13

Prakriti  Ghimire

  • Meena Pandey says :
    Thank you Alok Dhakal.
    Posted 01-10-2019 13:15

  • ALOK DHAKAL says :
    Awesome report!! Keep writing
    Posted 01-10-2019 01:53

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