The Amazon region of South America is on fire. These fires are set by man with the expressed permission of the newly elected Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro. Climate change is not the cause but certainly isn’t helping. This land is largely sought after by farmers in Brazil’s struggling economy – cattle farming in particular. It has been burning all year and for the last several weeks many of the fires have been out of control.
The Amazon Rainforest gives Earth’s atmosphere about 20% of it’s oxygen. If the rainforest is gone, imagine how much harder it will be to breath for you, your children, and your grandchildren. It is also home to hundreds of indigenous tribes who depend on it for survival. The Amazon Rainforest is also home to 427 mammal species, 1,300 bird species, 378 species of reptiles, and more than 400 species of amphibians (give or take a few). It is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, and it is on the verge of collapse.
Here are some ways you can help:
- Donate to the Rainforest Alliance or the World Wildlife Fund. Both of these non-profits work to fight deforestation, get involved in sustainable farming, fight the effects of climate change, and help protect animal species and their habitats. I donate $5 from the sale of each drawing in my animal portrait series to the WWF.
- Shop at stores and buy products that are Rainforest Alliance certified. Some companies included are: Whole Foods, Costco, Luna, Clif, Caribou Coffee, Office Max, Taco Bell, Seventh Generation, and Nestle. Check the Rainforest Alliance website (above) for a full list.
- Consume less beef. Cattle farming is a large contributor to the rainforest deforestation. The beef industry in general is pretty bad for the environment.
- Be less wasteful. Don’t buy bottled water – get a Brita filter system instead. Bring reusable travel mugs to get your Starbucks. Carry silverware with you at picnics so you don’t use the plastic ones. Go paperless (its the best thing about the internet). Never buy eggs (or anything) in styrofoam containers. Those red Solo cups? Americans really shouldn’t be using them. Simple changes in your daily routine can have a meaningful impact on the environment. Imagine if everyone put in that small effort.
- Grow your own fruits and vegetables. Easy on your wallet and you know exactly what has been used as far as pesticides go.
- VOTE. Vote for candidates who will make the climate a priority. You may not have a say in Brazil, but you do have a say in your home country.
Stay on top of this story. Stay involved. Resist like your future depends on it.