Smoke from the Amazon fires have made their way to Brazil’s main cities and have affected animals, plants and people living in the area.
The Amazon rain forest is one of the world’s most prominent “lungs,” absorbing millions of carbon emissions and producing around 20% of the oxygen in the planet’s atmosphere. The approximate 9,000 wildfires that have plagued the area since the beginning of the year have submerged cities in Brazil into darkness due to the smoke that’s managed to travel thousands of miles.
Although the heat of summer is a contributing factor, CNN reports that man-made deforestation is responsible for most of these fires. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, and his pro-business stance has given license to cattle owners, ranchers and farmers to light fires in order to clear the lands and produce more beef and business. The New York Times says that more than 1,330 square miles of forest cover has been cleared since the beginning of the year.
Wildfires of this magnitude, aside from harming the Amazon and the amount of oxygen it produces for the planet, are also responsible for harming endangered flora and fauna and impacting the lives of hundreds of people who live near the area. Here are a few things you can do to help.
There are several organizations you can make donations to like Amazon Watch, World Wide Fund for Nature, Rainforest Trust and Rainforest Action Network’s Protect-an-Acre program. These funds will help indigenous people and those who protect these areas, save acres of the Amazonian forest and protect affected animals and plants.
Switch up your diet
Consuming a more plant-based diet and reducing your beef intake could also help since the production of it is the reason why this problem started in the first place. Studies have linked beef products and cattle farming with deforestation.
Reduce paper and wood use
You can also check with Rainforest Alliance to make sure that the products you’re purchasing are Rainforest safe. If you don’t know where to find these products or what they are, their site has all sorts of relevant information and also sells all sorts of certified products that won’t harm the environment.