What The Amazon Fires Mean For Climate Change

by: Rosie Dalton | 2 months ago | News

Image: photographed by Chico Batata last week in Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira, Brazil. Image source.

In case you missed it, the Amazon is burning. Responsible for providing 20% of the oxygen we breathe, the Amazon has been described as the Earth’s “lungs” – and it is now being destroyed at unprecedented rates.

According to The New York Times, fires in the rainforest have surged this year, as farmers seek to clear even more land in the name of ‘business’. More than 75,000 fires have reportedly erupted since the start of the year — which represents an 83% increase on last year and the highest number since records began in 2013.

Now US space agency NASA has released a disturbing set of satellite images, which show smoke and fire spreading across several Brazilian states at alarming pace. All of which has devastating ramifications for our planet. In a release last week, Greenpeace said there’s a vicious cycle between forest fires and climate change. In fact, as the fires increase, so do greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens. Image source

"In addition to increasing emissions, deforestation contributes directly to a change in rainfall patterns in the affected region, extending the length of the dry season, further affecting forests, biodiversity, agriculture and human health," Greenpeace explains. So, overwhelming though this information may be, it’s important to use our voice and consumer choice for positive change here.

By spreading awareness around these environmental tragedies and backing that up with the shopping habits to match, we can all contribute to a culture of change. One important way to do this is by seeking out sustainable fibres and brands that operate in a sustainable manner. Like Veja, for example, which actually works to increase the economic value of the Amazon by harvesting wild rubber for its soles there, in partnership with seringeiros (rubber tappers) inside the Chico Mendès extractive reserve, in the Brazilian state of Acre.

If each of us speaks up and shops to reflect our values, then we can all help put an end to the covert degradation of precious ecosystems like the Amazon rainforest.

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