The Amazon Rain Forest, the Most Important Ecosystem on Earth, Has Been Under Constant Inferno the Last Few Weeks


Corpo de Bombeiros de Mato Grosso

This drone picture was released in Aug. 2019 by the Corpo de Bombeiros de Mato Grosso of a fire in the Amazon.

Lauren Guss, Alyssa Chang, and Mia Ouyang

    One would think that if the most important ecosystems on Earth was burning for three weeks, it would be a major alert to millions of people. This was unfortunately not the case for the Amazon rain forest, which supplies the world with 20 percent of the world’s oxygen according to CNN. The Amazon has been aflame for almost a month now, yet people are only recently starting to notice the catastrophic event.  

   The old-fashioned farming technique of burning an area to make way for livestock causes many to believe that farmers and loggers are to blame. This practice has been around for decades, so it is difficult to stop. The amount of fires in the Amazon has increased 83 percent from 2018 as stated by CNN. Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, believes non-government organizations could be the root of the inflation of fires. 

   “So, there could be…criminal action…to call attention against my person, against the government of Brazil. This is the war we are facing,” Bolsonaro said during a Facebook live broadcast on Wednesday, Aug. 14. However, Bolsonaro offered no evidence backing up this statement and blamed non-government parties while many believe that his employees, who contribute to deforestation, are to blame.

    Robin Chazdon, a professor at the University of Connecticut who has studied tropical rain forest ecology, states, if the rain forests are “not allowed to regenerate or be reforested, they will not be able to recover their high potential for carbon storage.” Carbon is kept out of the atmosphere due to photosynthesis by plants, but if all of the trees are all burned down, the amount of carbon will begin to grow on Earth. 

   Despite all this chaos, there is hope for the rain forest. This solution is us. If we make simple changes in our habits, then we can help prevent future fires. Cattle are raised in the forest, but trees and shrubs are burned to make room for them. Decreasing our usage of beef, cheese, and other cattle products can encourage a decline in land for cattle to graze on. Also, reducing the consumption of paper and wood products will dwindle deforestation in the Amazon. Supporting indigenous populations of the rain forest will raise awareness for these people. Their homes are being destroyed, and they are being discriminated against by Bolsanaro, according to PRI. 

   This world-changing fire caused lots of controversy. Non-government parties are being accused for the inferno, but many argue that  Bolsanaro’s employees are the true masterminds. If we continue to allow loggers and farmers to burn down our planet, then we are allowing the ecosystem that gives us oxygen to be destroyed. By switching a few aspects of our lives, we can lessen the impact we make on this essential ecosystem.