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The Amazon is alight
The Amazon rainforest is burning meaning the hopes and dreams of my generation are going up in flames.
When Notre Dame burnt, everyone knew about it within hours… perhaps even minutes. Now, when the Amazon rainforest, a natural wonder and essential ecosystem that cannot be replaced, is facing a record number of fires, many people remain unaware of the seriousness of this crisis.
Sixty per cent of the Amazon rainforest is in Brazil and it is here where more than 72,000 fires have been recorded since the beginning of 2019. The Amazon is facing the highest number of fires in Brazil for six years and there was an 84 per cent increase in the number of wildfires this June compared to the same period a year before.
Most of them are thought to have been started to clear land for crops and cattle grazing but before attacking the Brazilian farmers, consider the fact that during the last decade, the European Union has imported an average of 120,000 tonnes of Brazil-originating beef per year.
We need to realise what we do as consumers has consequences for the environment and people in other parts of the world.
The Amazon Basin is home to three million species of animals and plants and one million indigineous people. It is one of the most biodiverse places on earth as well as acting as an unimaginably important carbon sink, absorbing millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
The terrifying reality is the Amazon is approaching a tipping point beyond which it can never recover and will deteriorate irreversibly to dry savanna.
Climate scientist Carlos Nobre believes 15 to 17 per cent of the Amazon rainforest has already gone and the tipping point of the Amazon is likely to be between 20 to 25 per cent destruction.
If this happens, if the world’s largest rainforest falls into irrevocable dieback, it could release billions of tonnes of stored carbon into the atmosphere, creating a catastrophic climate crisis.
On social media, the hashtags ‘Amazon fires’, ‘pray for Amazonia’ and ‘Amazon rainforest’ are no longer trending, but the blazes continue.
Instead of praying for the Amazon, we need people to act. I recently joined a fantastic new initiative – Reserva: The Youth Land Trust. We are working to create the first youth funded nature reserve in Ecuador, which will cover more than 1,200 acres of the Chocó rainforest.
To help stop the destruction of the Amazon, boycott beef and soy that has been shipped from Brazil. A simple act like that can have an enormous impact.
And please join the global youth and adult strike for the climate tomorrow (Friday). Our war on nature must end and this will only happen if every single one of us puts pressure on our leaders stop it.