Environmental science was one of the subjects that fascinated me when I was in school. We studied about the diverse species of flora and fauna on this earth and how some of them survive because of the other. At the same time, some depend on others for food and other forms of survival. Earth is a beautiful place being populated with these species. Amidst all this, the teachers mentioned the “Earth’s Lungs” – the Amazon rainforest.
Plants take in carbon dioxide during the process of photosynthesis and release oxygen. The rainforests of the Amazon produce oxygen for a great portion of the Earth.
Now when I mentioned Amazon, some will think about Jeff Bezos and his fortune, or the new Alexa devices. Any news about that will earn more comments and reactions and media coverage.
Well, the Earth’s lungs have been choking for weeks and it still takes a lot for the world media to understand the seriousness of the issue.
I myself came across this news via Instagram. I follow actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who is also an environmentalist. He pointed out that the Amazon rainforest has been burning for weeks, maybe more, at a record rate of 73,000 forest fires, which was twice of what happened last year.
People around the world mourned for the burning of Notre Dame and we saw billionaires donating large amounts to get it repaired. Losing the lungs of the Earth will affect everyone irrespective of their economic strength or social status. It is a fact. One can presume how severe the situation just by seeing the smoke which is captured by NASA satellites.
The Amazon rainforest or the Amazon jungle is the tropical rainforest that covers a large portion of South America. 60% of the forest is in Brazil with Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Peru and Colombia sharing it.
Owing to the growing population, rainforests around the world are disappearing. The Amazon is basically half of what is left in this world. The rainforests are home to many species of flora and fauna. Who is to blame?
Brazil as a country is facing all the heat as the forest mostly resides in the country. The National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, popularly known as INPE) has released information regarding over 75,000 wildfires in the Amazon rainforest. It is no secret that Brazilian president fired Ricardo Magnus Osório Galvão, the INPE director, who is a “well-respected physicist” stating that the INPE’s data was an anti-Brazil move.
Smoke from wildfires in the #AmazonRainforest spreads across several Brazilian states in this natural-color image taken by a @NASAEarth instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite. Although it is fire season in Brazil, the number of fires may be record-setting: https://t.co/NVQrffzntr pic.twitter.com/4JTcBz9C8f
— NASA (@NASA) August 21, 2019
Disturbing videos showing local tribes being attacked and their homes burned started making rounds as well. The election of conservative Jair Bolsonaro to power in Brazil came as a grave concern as his political and social views were no different from another world leader who also demeans and disregards scientific data about climate change and environmental destruction.
Bolsonaro is a right-wing leader who is vocally against LGBTQ+ rights, women’s right to safe abortion and secularism. He was not visibly bothered about environmental conservation. He made it easier for farmers to do slash and burn in Amazon rainforest. Lack of moisture and rainfall has led to an increase in the burning of the forests along with human activities.
Now, the President came up with explanations on why it happened including alleging this was started by NGOs deliberately and he has no proof to validate his claims. He also said that they cannot fight the fire. When the leader of the nation is desperately trying to just shift blame instead of seeking solutions then there is probably no intention to fight back in the first place.
Trump himself denied the existence of climate change. Adding insult to the injury, the US pulled out of the Paris agreement and happens to be one of the biggest exhausters of greenhouse gases.
The French president called this an international emergency, a move that was condemned by Bolsonaro by saying that it is a local issue.
Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let's discuss this emergency first order in two days! #ActForTheAmazon pic.twitter.com/dogOJj9big
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 22, 2019
Connect the dots. Global warming is happening. The disappearance of green, including the Earth’s lungs, will lead to the surge in gases that increase heat, which will melt the polar ice and it will lead to disasters that cannot be controlled. We cannot keep stealing the environment from our children. In India, Delhi has unbreathable air and the Western Ghats are in trouble due to human interference.
The leaders of the nation should see to the rights of the environment. The ones who cannot do so, whatever be the reasons including money or religion, should be voted out.
The Notre Dame can be remade. But the consequences we might face due to the destruction of natural resources is something that is irreversible. People all over should raise their voice.