The Amazon Rainforest Is On Fire For The 17th Day
For the last 17 days, the largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon, in northern Brazil, has been burning at an unprecedented rate. Every minute a portion the size of a World Cup soccer field burns. The government has been unable to get the fire under control. To make matters worse the fire season only began in August and runs through October, so many expect this crisis to get worse before it gets better.
Many in the country are blaming the new president Bolsonaro for lax enforcement of logging and deforestation. This year alone has seen an 83% increase in reported fires in the Amazon. President Bolsanaro has been an advocate of the beef farmers who want more and more land for their cattle grazing. Over the last few decades Brazil’s beef production industry has become a global power house and the money driving politics in Brazil has come substantially from the beef industry.
A few days ago São Paulo had a complete atmospheric blackout in the city for an hour at 3pm in the afternoon due to immense amounts of black smoke clouds that came from the Amazon forest more than 1,700 miles away. Many on social media were comparing it the apocalypse. Yet despite having a significant presence on social media, the fire has not made international headlines yet.
The Amazon rainforest is vital to the earth as a natural sponge. The rainforest acts as a gigantic carbon storage mechanism. This rich biosphere produces 20% of the oxygen we breathe as well as contains 20% of the fresh water on the planet. If the forest burns out completely the ecological impact could be catastrophic.
Written by Alexander Fleiss, Edited by James Mueller