What’s Going On Here?
Thousands of forests in Brazil are on fire. As a result, a lot of smoke is being pumped into the skies across the country and releasing alarming amounts of carbon into the Earth’s atmosphere.
What Does This Mean?
You’ve heard about it. You’ve seen the pictures. But what is actually happening and why? There are so many threads to this story including Brazil’s president, logging and illegal land grabbers. We’re going to keep it simple for you because a lot of what we’ve seen in the news isn’t necessarily accurate.
Fires are burning across Brazil, we know that. In contrast to other fires we’ve seen around the world this year, these fires are man-made and caused deliberately. Fires are lit every year for agricultural purposes, to make way for cattle-ranching or to clear the remains of a harvest. However, this year has seen more than 70,000 fires, the highest number since records began!
Despite the headlines, these fires aren’t just happening in the Amazon. The fires are ablaze in many forests all across Brazil. But yes, the majority is happening in the Amazon.
Now. 2019. But, this hasn’t stopped the circulation of images that show the Amazon burning in… 2013 or even the year I was born…1989! Even celebrities have got in on the action…
This photo is of the Amazon burning in 2013, not 2019.
Why Should We Care?
Despite the fake news out there, the fact is, this really IS happening whether we like it or not. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is a well publicised climate denier who perhaps doesn’t have the Amazon’s best interest at heart and the role it plays in climate change, and the current situation in the Amazon is an almost direct result of his anti-Amazon-rainforest policies!
Events like this continue to devastate globally significant areas of biodiversity. The Amazon is the world’s biggest carbon sink (absorbing more carbon than it releases) and produces around 6% of the world’s oxygen (not 20% – another incorrect fact that is floating around).
And then of course you’ve got the indigenous communities that call the Amazon their home, 900,000 people whose house is literally on fire!
So there you have it, the What, Where and When of Brazil’s forest fires. At the recent G7 summit, the world’s political leaders pledged $22m of funding to help tackle the fires, yet this was rejected by Bolsonaro and his government.
I don’t know about you, but it’s left me wanting to know more…
- Make sure you fact check. Double check where and when a photo was taken before you share it, at the risk of spreading fake news.
- Read more about deforestation and how it affects YOU.
- DO share! Once you know the facts you have are correct, use your voice to share your knowledge and spread awareness.