The Amazon Rain Forest Fire and What It Means for Us

Sheigh Williamson

The Amazon Rain forest has 400 billion trees, produces 75% of its own rain, helps regulate ocean currents, is one of the most biodiverse places on earth, contains up to 30% of terrestrial species, produces 20% of the world’s oxygen, and it’s on fire.

Why should you care that the rain forest is on fire? The rain that the Amazon produces affects the rainfall all the way up in the Central and Southern United States. It also absorbs a significant amount of carbon dioxide. If less carbon is absorbed by forests, the carbon would create an overabundance of greenhouse gases that would trap more heat and make global warming even more of an issue. Then, there is a danger to biodiversity if significant parts of the forest are damaged. The animals will be missing a major part of their ecosystem and resources such as food. The animals will fight and kill each other for food and potential mates, and it could lead to species in the forest going extinct. This not only affects the ecosystem, but people too. Many of those animals and plants are used for food, among other things.

Then there are the indigenous people who live in and protect the forest. Many of them are being displaced by the fire because the fire is getting too close to their homes. There are over 400 indigenous groups living in the rain forest and several hundred of those are in the Brazilian Amazon. Many of them are considered un-contacted groups that will become homeless with no place to go because of the fires. Now, President Jair Balsonaro is supposedly sending an army to contain these fires and keep them from spreading.  He is also willing to accept international aid, but only if Brazil can control how it’s spent.

You can do many things to help fight the fire and protect the forest.  The most obvious is to donate to many organizations, such as the Amazon Aid Foundation, Amazon Conservation Association, Amazon Conservation Team, Amazon Watch, and others. You may also contact your elected official and encourage them to take action to protect the forest. For a more unconventional way to help, you may use the web browser Ecosia. For every 45 searches they promise to plant a tree somewhere in the world, including in the Amazon. Even the little things make a difference.