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World Report View

[Monthly Event] Amazon at Blaze: Actions Required

by Kushal Naharki | 01-10-2019 01:55 recommendations 0 recommendations

Amazon Rainforest wildfires season saw a year-to-year surge in fires occurring in the Amazon rainforest and Amazon biome within Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru during that year's Amazonian tropical dry season. This is not a new phenomenon, as July and August are the beginning of the dry season. However, it is the sheer volume, cause and the ultimate effect of the fires that are alarming. 2019 is shaping up to be the Brazilian Amazon’s worst fire since 2010. 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. The Amazon rainforest, the vessel holding a massive amount of the world’s oxygen, is burning at a rate we have never seen before. The main consensus was fire was mainly due to the human activities.

 

what are the causes

1. Deforestation is largely due to land clearing for agricultural purposes, particularly cattle ranching but also soybean production. Human activities like farming, mining and drilling at the forest are exacerbating the situation now. The dry season creates the favorable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident. Experts say deforestation and a practice called slash-and-burn are to blame for most of the flames. People cut down patches of forest, allow the area to dry out, then set the remains ablaze to make room for agriculture or other development. They might also set fires to replenish the soil and encourage the growth of pastures for cattle. Brazil is the world’s top exporter of beef, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

2. There also seems to be the political scenario behind the deforestation in the amazon rainforest. Deforestation in the Amazon is assumed to spike since the election last year of the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Arguing that federal conservation zones and hefty fines for cutting down trees hinder economic growth, Bolsonaro has slashed Brazil’s strict environmental regulations. Environmentalists have also put the blame on President Jair Bolsonaro, saying his policies have only threatened the forest more.

3. 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. President Bolsonaro is also pushing forward an ambitious infrastructure development plan that would turn the Amazon’s many waterways into electricity generators. The infrastructure developmental activities are resulting into the deforestation of the amazon rainforest.

 

 

Why is this significant

The Amazon rainforest fires that have been blazing out of control in Brazil for weeks could have far-reaching effects on our health, often called ''the planet's lungs," the Amazon rainforest is a carbon ''sink," sucking up carbon dioxide and providing about 20% of the world's oxygen. If we can't conserve the Amazon, we will lose the fight against the climate crisis," says Kerry Cesareo, senior vice president for forests for the World Wildlife Fund. "We have already lost about 20% of the rainforest," she says.

 

There are immediate impacts from the fires for people living in the area. Fires release pollutants, including particulate matter & toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and non-methane organic compounds into the atmosphere. The forest also absorbs carbon dioxide, including from sources like pollution. Losing a significant part of the forest would speed up climate change because more carbon dioxide would be in the atmosphere, experts say.  If the forest continues to burn, it will release a vast amount of carbon dioxide pollution into the atmosphere.

 It’s has been estimated that the Amazon generates about half of its own rainfall. Less rain means dryer plants, which are more susceptible to causing even more fires. A dangerous cycle.

 

Possible negative aftermath resulting from this situation

1.  Fires release pollutants, including particulate matter & toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and non-methane organic compounds into the atmosphere. So, in a perverse chain of events, the fires are both generating large amounts of carbon dioxide, while at the same time destroying millions of trees that would be taking in the carbon dioxide and protecting the environment. It’s a trouble all side.

2.  The fire blaze has resulted to loss of the large plants and animals’ biodiversity. Many wildlives and forest have been lost to the forest fire causing the enormous damage to the biodiversity.

3.  In addition to the impact on global climate, the fires created environmental concerns from the excess carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide within the fires' emissions, potential impacts on the biodiversity of the Amazon, and threats to indigenous tribes that live within the forest. The added carbon dioxide will then also trap heat within our atmosphere due to the greenhouse effect and could change the atmospheric circulation that causes the melting of large ice sheets and many other catastrophic effects of climate change.

4.  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.  It is estimated that 25 percent of the pharmaceutical drugs sold in the U.S. are derived from 40 Amazon plants. These are all at risk.

5.  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. This also increase the chance of more spreading of the fire.

 

 

What can we do?

1.  The basic steps should be strict rules against the converting forest into farmland with the slash and burn technique.

2.  There should be immediate support system to monitor and control fire.

3.  We can donate to charitable causes such as The Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Trust, Amazon Watch or the Rainforest Alliance.

Actions can be taken at global to local level. Small acts at local level also contribute to the huge impact. Person can choose to make one environmentally friendly change in their life to help offset the impact of this destruction." For instance, order take-out food one less time per week, as the single-use plastics used in food packaging are an environmental concern or volunteer for an environmental group.

Global Actions:

1.  Using satellite imagery and the latest peer-reviewed research on biodiversity, climate change and water security, Chazdon and Brancalion identified 385,000 square miles (997,145 square km) of “restoration hotspots” – areas where restoring tropical forests would be most beneficial, least costly and lowest risk.

2.  Hollywood Star Leonardo DiCaprio charity organization Earth Alliance pledged $5 million  “to focus critical resources for indigenous communities and other local partners working to protect the life-sustaining biodiversity of the Amazon against the surge of fires currently burning across the region.”

3.  We can push governments to do more. At the recent summit in France, the G-7 nations committed to provide  at least 20 million euros ($22 million) in emergency funding to help with efforts to prevent fires in the Amazon.

4.  Many companies already have sustainability initiatives and goals. There are already over 700 companies who produces Rainforest Alliance Certified products, who are recognized for environmental, social and economic sustainability.

5.  Social media plays an important role in the awareness and protection. The hashtag #prayforamazonia went viral in twitter

6.  Amazon country summit and G7 Summit and emergency aid are the global action taking place to control the amazon forest fire. The countries signed a pact to coordinate monitoring of the Amazon forest and disaster response, and a better information network to coordinate their responses. The pact will also seek cooperative efforts to reduce the need for illegal deforestation in their countries.

Lets all act together to protect Amazon. #ActForAmazon

#TogetherWeCan

References:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2019/09/03/what-is-the-amazon-fire-effect-on-our-environment-and-businesses/#72508b33530b

Amazon at Fire

KushalNaharki

  • Nepal E-gen Ambassador Kushal Naharki

5 Comments

Prakriti  Ghimire

  • Prakriti Ghimire says :
    Thanks for such an wonderful piece of writing.
    Keep writing and shining.
    Posted 02-10-2019 14:11

Kushal Naharki

Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Thank you @meena for the comment.
    Green cheers :)
    Posted 01-10-2019 15:48

Prashamsa Bhusal

  • Prashamsa Bhusal says :
    Great report!!
    Kushal dada
    Go on writing!
    Posted 01-10-2019 13:41

Meena Pandey

  • Meena Pandey says :
    Hello Kushal dai!!!
    I hope you are fine and doing great.

    The fire in the Amazon also adds particulate in the atmosphere along with pollutants.
    There should be immediate support system to control and monitor fire.
    We all must act to save amazon.

    Thanks for the wonderful report .
    Keep writing and shining.
    Hope to know more from you.

    Warm regards,
    Meena Pandey
    Posted 01-10-2019 13:22

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