The Amazon rainforest is on fire.
This year, between January and August, almost 73,000 fires have been recorded, which is nearly double 2018’s total of nearly 40,000 fires. It’s a record high. Since Thursday, almost 10,000 news fires have started.
One of the reasons for the massive increase in fires is human activity, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro does not care. Dismissing concerns about the amount of fires in the Amazon, he said, “I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame.”
He said it was just the time of the year when farmers use fire to clear land. Since taking power, Bolsonaro has also hampered what government agencies can do to protect the rainforest.
The fires have created a layer of smoke estimated to be 1.2 million square miles wide, and the loss of forest is devastating for mitigating global warming. The rainforest is meant to absorb carbon, not produce it.
And while it might seem overwhelming and devastating, and far removed from everyday life, there are things that can be done. Here are some ways you (and Logan Paul) can make a difference.
1. Educate yourself and others
You can learn more about the crisis from official sources and educate friends and family on all the details. The more people know about how serious the crisis is, the more that can be done.
For those who can read Portuguese, there’s Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, which uses satellite imagery and records the number of wildfires. Otherwise, InfoAmazonia has a map showing fires that are burning in Brazil. Another feature it offers is a map that lets you compare your location with the Amazon deforestation.
You can also read up on the issue from major news outlets covering developments with the fires, including, of course, Business Insider.
2. Reduce, reuse, recycle
It’s also worth learning what can be done in your day-to-day life, which can have lasting effects on the rainforest — like reducing the amount of paper and wood you use.
A lot of paper comes from trees chopped down in the Amazon. Less demand, in theory, means less deforestation.
3. Donate to a charity
Six charities that work to help the Amazon rainforest have received at least three out of four stars from Charity Navigator, a nonprofit that rates charities on their accountability and financial management.
Here are links to their websites, listed in alphabetical order:
Amazon Conservation Association
While it’s probably not a good idea to volunteer to actually fight the fires, unless you’re a trained firefighter, there are other ways to make a difference. Contact any of the charities listed in the previous slide and ask them what you can do.
These charities can, and do, make a difference.
In the late 1980s, Rainforest Action Network launched a campaign demanding that Burger King stop importing cheap beef from tropical rainforest areas, and the fast-food chain actually stopped — it canceled $35 million worth of beef contracts. More recently, the organization has targeted Halloween candy made from palm oil.
5. Make your voice heard
You can call, email, or write to your elected officials or the US State Department and encourage them to act the way you would like them to, to raise this issue in their official roles.
The burning and deforestation of the Amazon rainforest will have lasting effects on the global climate. It might be in a different country, but members of Congress can still take action.
And while you wait to see their responses, you can be vocal online.#PrayforAmazonia and #AmazonRainforest are trending hashtags on the issue.