The Lungs of the Earth are Burning

 The Amazon Rainforest is currently burning and has been for weeks, while little to no coverage has been given to the immediate and dire situation. 

Fire. Cullan Smith. Unsplash.

Fire. Cullan Smith. Unsplash.

The Amazon is on fire and has been for a little over a month. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “40,000 different types of plants” are estimated to have been affected by the fires raging in the Amazon. The Amazon fires have been burning for a while now, but coverage on the fires has been little to none. Now, though, through the outcry on social media, attention has been brought and countries across the globe are pitching in, trying to do their part in reversing and stopping the fires. 

According to a NY Times article, “Hours after leaders of some of the world’s wealthiest countries pledged more than $22 million to help combat fires in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil’s government angrily rejected the offer, in effect telling the other nations to mind their own business — only to later lay out potential terms for the aid’s acceptance and then, on Tuesday evening, accepting some aid from Britain.”

Denying the aid could prove detrimental to the people and animals living in the Amazon forest. According to a CNN video, Daniel Aristizabel, a member of the Amazon Conservation team, states that the fires are affecting tons of the wildlife in the Amazon, stating “if you lose one species, you cause a chain reaction”. This “chain reaction” can cause a major shift in our ecosystem and possibly put many animals on the endangered species list. 

Being far-removed from the fires makes it difficult to understand the scope and how big of areas the fires are covering. In an ABC video, Andres Ruzo from National Geographic Explorer and Conservationist and also the Director of the Boiling River Project states that “we could be losing, in certain areas, as much as 3 soccer fields of jungle every single minute”. The rate at which the Amazon is burning is huge and will have an impact on ourselves. To put the size in perspective, CNN reporter also adds that the amount of land burning is equivalent to “two thirds the size of the contenential United States”. The Amazon Rainforest has often been called the lungs of the Earth but now they are clogged with smoke. 

Senior VP of Forests, WWF, Kerry Cesareo, states “we have seen a dramatic increase in deforestation in the Amazon, recently, and it is driven by humans and this is happening in part due to demand for food and other resources from the forests and exacerbated by the decline and enforcement of laws”. The apparent need for land for farming is the reason behind the fires. A great need for profit and resources are killing the Earth’s lungs.

If you would like to contribute to the efforts of saving the Amazon rainforest, you can donate to Protect and Acre Fund at https://act.ran.org/page/11127/donate/1 which “has distributed more than one million dollars in grants to more than 150 frontline communities, indigenous-led organizations, and allies, helping their efforts to secure protection for millions of acres of traditional territory in forests around the world.” You can also reduce your wood, paper, and beef consumption as those are the top reasons deforestation is currently happening to the Amazon. 






OLIVIA HAMMOND is an undergraduate at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She studies Creative Writing, with minors in Sociology/Anthropology and Marketing. She has travelled to seven different countries, most recently studying abroad this past summer in the Netherlands. She has a passion for words, traveling, and learning in any form.