As devastating fires continue to wipe out parts of the Amazon, the Brazilian government has said it will reject aid offers from G7 countries to help tackle the blazes, leaving the international community wondering how – and when – the crisis will be resolved.
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Though it spans several countries – including Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela – the majority of the Amazon lies in Brazil. Known as the ‘lungs of the world’, the Amazon is essential in slowing down the rate of global warming, as it absorbs vast amounts of carbon dioxide and produces oxygen. What’s more, the rainforest is a vital habitat for three million of species of plants and animals, as well as one million indigenous people.
So far, the National Institute for Space Research has detected 72,843 fires in the Amazon between January and August, a whopping 84% increase compared to the same period last year.
Now, as G7 nations’ efforts have fallen flat, others are stepping up to do their part. Hollywood actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio has pledged $5 million to tackle the fires through his environmental organisation, Earth Alliance. It’s just one of the many non-profit groups working to tackle the blaze.
If you’re watching from afar and feeling helpless, you’re not alone. But there are ways you, as an individual, can make a difference. Here’s how you can help protect the Amazon…
Make a donation
Amazon Watch: This non-profit protects the rainforest and upholds the rights of indigenous populations in the Amazon Basin by partnering with other groups.
Protect-An-Acre: Rainforest Action Network’s programme supports local communities and indigenous-led organisations to protect their homes, culture, and heritage, as well as the ecosystems and wildlife that they share their home with.
Amazon Conservation Association: Providing local communities and governments with fire prevention training and equipment, this organisation monitors and locates burning forests to report details in real time to the relevant authorities so they can take swift action.
Amazon Conservation Team: Partnering with indigenous and local communities, this group seeks to protect tropical forests, address the climate emergency, and strengthen culture.
Amazon Aid Foundation: This group aims to increase awareness and understanding of the need to preserve the Amazon through the arts, science, and other projects.
Rainforest Alliance: Protecting our forests to protect our planet, the Rainforest Alliance seeks to end the crisis of deforestation so people and nature can live in harmony.
Rainforest Trust: Protecting wildlife, local communities, and the environment, Rainforest Trust allocates 100% of project donations directly to conservation action.
Sign a petition
You may feel like you won’t make a difference as one person, but collective action often makes waves. So, join the hundreds of thousands of other people signing petitions demanding change and action. Several are already making the rounds, including Save the Amazon and Stand With the Guardians of the Forest from Greenpeace and this one from Brazilian lawyer, Gabriel Santos.
Raise your voice
Much of this year’s devastation has been caused by human activity. So, look into the practices of companies that have commercial ties to the Amazon, and that may be contributing to deforestation in the area. As a consumer, you have a voice, so you can contact a business, express your concerns and let them know you’ll be spending your money elsewhere. Reduce your consumption of paper and wood, too, as these products contribute to deforestation, and be sure to only purchase products with sustainably produced palm oil. You can use Rainforest Alliance’s list of certified products that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable as a guide.