On Monday, August 22, low, dark clouds covered Brazil that shocked its people – but it wasn’t some cosmic phenomenon. It turns out, it was the smoke from forest fires burning almost 1,700 miles away.
While wildfires happen in the Amazon Rainforest (fires in the rainforest are actually most in July through August), this one is apparently the largest and probably the longest so far. In fact, both NASA and NOAA satellites from space captured the vast stretch of flames. But, how did the Amazon Rainforest fires happen?
What is happening in the Amazon rainforest?
It seems the fire wasn’t brought by some natural cause. The dry season may create favorable conditions for the spread and use of fire, but INPE research Alberto Setzer says that, “starting a fire is the work of humans,” whether it was by accident or not. NASA seems to agree with what Setzer says as well. While Setzer and NASA didn’t mention at who exactly may have caused it, some conservationists put the blame on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing him for encouraging both loggers and farmers to clear the Amazon Rainforest.
However, Bolsonaro denies the accusations. But, the Brazilian government says it will reject offers of aid from G7 countries to put out the Amazon Rainforest Fires.
What is being done to put out the Amazon rainforest fires?
Aside from debates and criticisms being thrown at and between some government officials, Bolsonaro has authorized military intervention in the area last August 23 and is fighting the fires with “great success,” as per US President Donald Trump.
The US stands ready to assist too. Bolivia President Evo Morales also has contracted a Boeing 747 Supertanker to help. Other countries like Venezuela have offered a hand as well.
People from around the world has already been spreading awareness about the Amazon Forest fires on different social media platforms like Twitter. Also, many people have been urging others to donate to charities such as World Wildlife Fund and Rainforest Concern.
What you can do
The Amazon Rainforest fires are still active. Many people, as well as animals (including those that can only be found in the Amazon rainforest) have lost and will lose their homes sooner or later. And if you’re willing to extend some help, here are some of the things that you can do:
- Donate to Rainforest Action Network to help protect an acre of the Amazon rainforest.
- Reduce your wood and paper consumption and/or purchase rainforest-safe products.
- Donate to One Tree Planted who works to stop deforestation not just in the Amazon rainforest but aren’t the world as well.
- Donate to Amazon Watch who protects the rainforest, addresses climate change, and defends indigenous rights.
- Or, if you can’t donate yet, you can use Ecosia.org, a search engine that helps plant a tree for every 45 searches you run.