A Jungle on Fire

As many of you are aware, there have recently been massive forest fires in the Amazon Rainforest. Evidently, we have a large problem on our hands.

This week I will outline some of the dangers the Amazon is facing as well as some reasons why the rainforest is burning.

Rising world populations create a seemingly endless demand for beef and other food products. This causes farmers to continue expanding grazing pastures. In the Amazon, this is usually done using the slash and burn method which not only involves cutting down trees but also involves lighting the ground on fire. This practice is very short-sighted in that the ash produced from burning the trees and other vegetation works as fertilizer for a few years, but once the fertilizing properties from the ash are used up, the land is then left desolate and very infertile. In short, the slash and burn method results in carbon emissions from the fire itself, deforestation, and soil erosion.    

These slash and burn fires have been getting out of control recently due to dry weather and drought caused by climate change.

The industrialization of the Amazon has resulted in a system of roads being built throughout the jungle. This requires rivers all throughout the rainforest to be damned or bridged which results in silt build up and shore erosion as well as weaker and slower water flow. You can imagine this is detrimental to the mating, feeding and migration patterns of fish and other creatures. With water cycles being disrupted like this, no wonder the jungle is drying out.

The situation in the Amazon reminds us that the fight against climate change will prove futile unless all countries across the globe work together. Even if everyone in America started living more sustainably, we still would not have solved the problem unless other countries were willing to make similar changes. In the developing world it can be especially difficult to live sustainably. There are many people worldwide who have not had a proper education. In addition to lacking the resources to fight climate change, many people are entirely unaware that climate change is even a threat.

This being said, it is very important that we remain hopeful about our future and that we continue to inspire change in the word around us.

To learn more please check out these resources:

Why the Amazon is Burning

Slash and Burn Agriculture

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