Right now, as you read these words, a large swathe of our planet is quite literally burning, and almost no one is speaking about it.
The Amazon; an explosion of life and a cornocuopia of colours. A heaving organism thrumming with the calls of species we’ve yet to know and possibly never will. A hub of the most elemental substances; water, soil, foliage….and fire.
Fire that churns out acrid smoke. Smoke that has now cloaked 1.2 million square miles of the most vital ecosystem we have on Earth. The lungs of our earth aren’t short of air, they are being choked, and humanity is the hand around the throat, taking life and giving death.
The fires are caused by us (whether directly or indirectly), yet we are confused when the fires uncontrollably ravage the rainforest. We’re confused and enraged when we see a torrent of apocalyptic images with caustic smoke smothering the lush green of the Amazon and whole cities. (In fact, the smoke has caused blackouts over 1,700 miles away).
But to me, what isn’t confusing is the driving force behind this explosion in fires. The reasons can be attributed to many things, but it is undeniable that the new Brazilian President is a contributing force. Before he became president he called the climate crisis ‘greenhouse fables’. After he became president, he magnified this environmental dissonance and began to weaken policies and create a political rhetoric that focused almost exclusively on economy. In doing so, he has created a climate of impunity where regulations are weak, criminals are exempt from punishment and ecocide is rife.
And it IS ecocide. Although it is possible for wildfires to get out of control, it is thought that these fires have been set by farmers – fire is a common form of illegal deforestation. In fact, there has been an 88% increase in deforestation this June compared to the same month a year ago. When Bolsonaro found out, the director of this report was sacked…
The following is taken from a CHANGE.ORG petition. It is important that as a global community we ask President Bolsonaro to:
Abandon his plans to privatize the Amazon and legislate and enforce a ban on highways, land clearing, animal agriculture and mining in the Amazon.
Allow swathes of previously cleared land to regenerate in the Amazon to replenish the land to its natural state and reverse the damage done by animal agriculture and other land uses.
Offer protection and support to the indigenous peoples that reside there and protect environmental activists and their democratic right
Before I go on, let’s think back to April this year when an iconic French cathedral – Notre Dame Cathedral – burnt down. Many fell into mourning at the loss of this beautiful building and, of course, the media was quick to broadcast the news globally. It seemed like everyone knew… everyone cared. We came together, we acted, we raised money. Now that our very life support system is burning down, we can’t do the same, we have to do MORE.
You’ve probably taken around 15 breaths in the last minute, each inhalation drawing in air produced by plants and trees. Perhaps you’ve stepped outside today, something you can still do because rainforests are helping to regulate our climate and prevent catastrophic warming. Perhaps you’ve eaten, had medicine, drank water, used paper or burnt wood. Every single action you take is reliant on a chain of previous events that ultimately depend on the natural world. You are inextricably linked with the Amazon, meaning that as an individual you also carry a responsibility to align your actions with a more sustainable way of life that will cherish our natural heritage, not decimate it.
You can stop these atrocities now by voting with your wallet and boycotting companies that are involved with destroying the Amazon.
Share this petition far and wide : https://www.change.org/p/united-nations-stop-bolsonaro-from-destroying-the-amazon
Switch to a whole foods, vegan/plant-based diet and live cruelty free! Animal agriculture is the leading cause of rainforest destruction and a leading cause of climate change.
Organize and join globally coordinated actions with environmental rights, human rights and animal rights organizations.
Please also share social media posts to raise awareness, using the hashtag #PrayForAmazonia.