World Turns Blind As Amazon Burns
While we are struggling to keep up the fight against climate change, the movement took another devastating blow this time. Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, also known as “the lungs of the planet”, is burning at a record rate and scientists are worried it would affect the world climate in a major way.
Earlier this month, Brazil declared a state of emergency over the rising number of fires in the forest. Since the time Brazil’s space research centre, the National Institute for Space Research began tracking fires in the Amazon in 2013, they are burning at the highest rate.
This year alone, there has been 72,843 fires in Brazil and more than half of these fires were in the Amazon region. This is a rise of 80% from the same period last year.
The fires are caused mostly due to people clearing the land for farming and ranching. Couple that with July and August being the region’s driest months and gaining momentum in early September before stopping by mid-November.
The Amazon rainforest is the home of several exotic and undiscovered flora and fauna. They are the largest rainforest on the planet and also the last remaining ones. The fire is so huge that it is visible from space. The European Union Earth Observation Program’s Sentinel satellites and NASA’s Aqua satellite captured and tweeted images of “significant amount of smoke” over the states of Amazonas, Rondonia and neighbouring areas.
The situation is so intense that the smoke is covered the skies of Sao Paulo, a city more than 1,700 miles away. Several images from the city showed blackened skies during the afternoon. The smoke has covered nearly half of Brazil is quickly spreading into neighbouring Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.
????Just a little alert to the world: the sky randomly turned dark today in São Paulo, and meteorologists believe it’s smoke from the fires burning *thousands* of kilometers away, in Rondônia or Paraguay. Imagine how much has to be burning to create that much smoke(!). SOS???? pic.twitter.com/P1DrCzQO6x— Shannon Sims (@shannongsims) August 20, 2019
People around the world are outraged and criticized the media for giving the Notre Dame fire more attention over the rainforest fire. Social media users also pointed fingers at billionaires for no donations for the fire. Hashtags like #PrayforAmazons and #AmazonRainforest are doing the rounds.
Amid all this outrage and criticism, one person who is feeling the heat most is Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro. Activists who are fighting to save the Amazon have blamed Jair for the endangerment of the vital rainforest. They have accused him of relaxing environmental controls in the country and pushing towards deforestation.
From the other side of Earth, here’s the latest on the Amazonia fires ????— WMO | OMM (@WMO) August 20, 2019
Produced by @CopernicusEU’s atmosphere monitoring service, it shows the smoke reaching the Atlantic coast and São Paulo ????????
DATA HERE▶️https://t.co/Q6qzFdPfIT pic.twitter.com/aJKU2YwRpJ
In response, Bolsonaro said that the recent fires in the Amazon may have been caused by NGOs to draw international criticism to his government. “Crime exists, and we need to make sure that this type of crime does not increase. We took money away from the NGOs,” he said. “They are now feeling the pinch from the lack of funding. So, maybe the NGO types are conducting these criminal acts in order to generate negative attention against me and against the Brazilian government. This is the war we are facing.”
Last month, Greenpeace called Bolsonaro and his government a “threat to the climate equilibrium” and gave stern warning that in the long run. His policies would bear a “heavy cost” for the Brazilian economy.
For more latest buzz around the world, keep coming back to Befazool Charcha.