For 3 weeks now, the Amazon rainforest has been burning at an alarming rate – up to one football field a minute. According to new research, it is the fastest burning wildfire in the rainforest’s history – and it isn’t letting up.
The Amazon rainforest is one of the most bio-diverse and environmentally important ecosystems on the planet. More than 20% of all the oxygen on the earth is produced by the Amazon – it is the lungs of the earth. And yet, it has been burning for 3 weeks and continues to do so, with little to no media coverage about the fires up until just this week.
The wildfire is composed of a series of several fires, and the area burning is so large that the smoke can be seen from space. The smoke from the fire has traveled to as far away as Sao Paulo, located approximately 1,700 miles away from the epicenter of the fires.
The fires are gaining increasing criticism due to the lack of media coverage. Social media activists are claiming that the Notre Dame fire earlier this year received much more attention and support, yet this one was able to avoid the mainstream media for weeks. Unfortunately, the fires in the Amazon are only now beginning to be realized by the world and not much effort or funding has been provided yet. But there is hope.
There are ways to help. You can donate to Amazon forest relief foundations like Amazon Watch, Amazon Conservation Association, and The Amazon Conservation Team that all serve to protect the Amazon rainforest and are currently working to fight the fires.
A petition by a Brazilian lawyer has been launched to mobilize an investigation into the cause of the Amazonian fires, and to get more government aid in putting them out. It currently has attainted 468,000 signatures of its 500,000 goal. You can sign the petition to help put out the fires and to catch the culprits who started it at change.org.
The Amazon plays a major role in regulating the planet’s climate, and these fires must be put out as soon as possible, or the consequences will be severe. If too much of the rainforest is lost then global oxygen levels will decrease and carbon levels will increase. This could impact everything from agriculture to the water we drink.