Amazon Rainforest: How You Can Help
If you've been watching the news lately, reading articles online, or even just scrolling through social media... yes, the Amazon Rainforest is on fire. Not all of it - but a good chunk of it. And it's happening at a record rate.
The Background Info
I'll try not to get too repetitive here, but long story short... Brazil has declared a state of emergency due to the 73,000 fires reported in the Amazon by INPE [Brazil's space research center]
Statistically speaking, that's an 83% spike from July of 2018. Now, it's not unheard of for the Amazon to have wildfires. It actually burns from wildfires every single year due to lack of moisture and rain [usually during their expected dry months] However, most of the tree destruction in the Amazon, otherwise known as deforestation, has less to do with natural occurrences - and more to do with human activities. In fact, deforestation in the Amazon has increased by almost 300% since last year. Yes, you read that correctly. 300%. [reported by Brazil's INPE] Can you guess how these large sections of trees are being cleared so quickly? If you guessed fire, you're correct. Fire is the most common method used for clearing large sections of land for farms or ranches in the Amazon.
At this rate, an entire quarter of the Amazon's biome will be tree-less by 2030.
The Amazon Rainforest produces a little over 20% of oxygen to the world. We need trees to absorb the carbon dioxide that we exhale. We need trees to absorb the greenhouse gases emitted from human activity. As these trees are burning, the pollutants they've been storing are being released back into our environment [carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, you know... all of that silly toxic stuff that we don't want] If the destruction of the Amazon continues, everything will be impacted by it - even that cup of coffee you're sipping on as you read this.
How You Can Help
If you're like me - sitting comfortably in an air-conditioned, fire-less, smoke-less area, reading these articles from your smartphone and wondering what you can actually do to help the devastation... I've listed a few different options down below. I think it's close to impossible to actually help fight the blaze in person. But... you do what you can, where you can.
Cool Earth works with local communities that count on the Amazon for survival
The Rainforest Trust works to protect areas that are vulnerable [100% of your donation goes towards their conservation work]
Foundation UK fights deforestation locally and globally
World Land Trust works to conserve rainforest habitats and the endangered wildlife
Rainforest Alliance works to bring together business, agriculture, and nature in a non-threatening way
Amazon Conservation Team works with the indigenous people of South America to protect the land
Rainforest Action Network works to challenge corporate power and injustice in order to protect climate and human rights
Sign a Petition
Upgrade Your Search Engine
Ecosia is a search engine, just like google or safari, that uses its profits to plant trees. On average, 1 tree is planted for every 45 searches. Think about it - how many times do you pull out your phone to look something up on google? I downloaded the Ecosia app and placed it in the same spot that my previous web browser used to be, because my thumb is already so used to clicking that same spot to get to the internet.
Reduce Paper Consumption
Use both sides of a piece of paper
Bring your own grocery bags to the grocery store [or any store, for that matter]
Use cloth napkins and towels that can be easily washed and reused, instead of paper towels or paper napkins
Replace paper plates and paper cups with reusable plates, glass cups, containers, etc.
When buying paper products, try to find the ones with the highest percentage of recycled paper [post-consumer recycled content is best]
Builders can avoid old growth wood by using alternatives like recycled lumber, composite lumber, and independently certified wood.
Did you know: The Home Depot, one of the largest lumber retailers, started phasing out old growth wood products, and instead switched to eco-friendly lumber alternatives? Yep - this was back in 1999.
Be Beef Conscious
I'm not telling you to become vegan, or to stop eating beef. If you want to help, try reducing your consumption of beef just a little bit. Or just be aware of where you're getting it from. "Rainforest beef" is typically found in fast-food and processed beef products.
The Amazon Rainforest, AKA "The Lungs of the World," is home to more than 1/3 of [what's left of] the world's rainforest, but we're quickly losing it. The more you learn about it, and the devastation from the destruction of it, the more you can help.
Of course, the list of things to do to help can go on and on. It's up to you to take action - whether its something big or something small. If you've made it to the end of this post, thanks for reading! Peace. ✌️