Lately, everytime I scroll through the news, all I see are the growing fires of the Amazon Rainforest. The Amazon is home to a vast biodiversity with many species that are still unclassified or undiscovered. This rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world and is known to be “the lungs of the earth,” producing about 20% of the worlds oxygen. 

Now those lungs are burning more than ever before due to the deforestation that happened back in May and June, where people wanting to use the land for farming and businesses cut the trees, left them to dry, and then lit them on fire. In Brazil, where the majority of the Amazon is located, the increase of fires from this time last year is up by 80% with more months coming in this dry season, where it is very hot with not much rainfall. Typically, dry season lasts from July to October, and is followed by rain in November. With more months to go, these fires only seem to be growing. 

This environmental crisis is partially caused by politics—the current Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro allowed more deforestation to occur in order to create more farms and land for businesses. The president blames the fires on non-profit organizations, saying that they are drying up on money and so they caused a crisis to make money and jobs for people. Now, “when it comes to clearing any part of the Amazon, the immediate benefits can never outweigh the long term costs. Doing so has far-reaching consequences on not only the region, but the world, and once it’s done it can’t be undone.

As the president acts with ignorance, many in Brazil and across the world are standing tall and fighting for the Amazon to be saved. The Indigenous communities of Brazil have also joined the fight by protesting against President Bolsonaro. The G7 has offered $22 million for the cause and the European Union are considering banning imports that come from Brazil, to boycott them until they do something about this. However, Bolsonaro refuses to accept help from the G7 or anyone else; to him, the fires aren’t a huge problem. He simply believes the army he has are enough in taming these fires, though realistically they are not. 

We need to acknowledge that these fires are a problem. We are all connected by this planet—it is our home and so we are the ones who are responsible for raising our voices and fighting to protect our home instead of allowing it to be destroyed. We need to educate one another and raise our voices. Whether it is through signing petitions, standing at protests or being a part of the teams who are putting out the fires, we need to do something, anything we can.