Earth’s Most Valuable Rainforest Up In Flames

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Earth’s Most Valuable Rainforest Up In Flames

Alex Mintz, Reporter

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Throughout this past year, the Amazon rainforest has experienced thousands of fires that have the potential to negatively affect both the earth’s oxygen supply and the preservation of a clean atmosphere. According to the Washington Post, Amazonian cattle grazers and soybean growers set the fires to clear the land. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wants to use the Amazon land for future development, saying, “let’s use the riches that God gave us for the well-being of our population.”

Brazil is no stranger to these wildfires but the amount of fires are up 85 percent just in the last year. The fires are so large that they are visible from outer space, according to NASA officials, who have been constantly  monitoring the fires and sharing pictures on Twitter. The rainforest covers 2.1 million square miles of land in South America and is about two-thirds the size of Europe. “The Amazon rainforest is one of the jewels of this earth,” said Director of College Counseling Dr. Chris Teel, who frequently travels to Brazil. Teel is not exaggerating the importance of the Amazon.

 The Amazon rainforest has a major influence on water cycles and  weather patterns around the world. It produces 20 percent of all the oxygen in our atmosphere. Additionally, the rainforest holds around 90 million tons of carbon, which will be detrimental to the atmosphere when it is released. 

“The fires in the Amazon are highly concerning, yet no one seems to be concerned about it,” Associate Director of College Counseling Ashley Plaeger said. There are growing fears that Brazil does not intend to stop the fires, although many other countries have offered support to combat the threat. 

Bolsonaro rejected a $20 million aid package presented from the international community following the G7 summit  on August 25 to help fight the fires. According to CBS news, Bolsonaro reportedly told French president Emmanuel Macron that he needs to worry about “his home and colonies” and not Brazil. President  Donald Trump tweeted that Bolsonaro “and his country have the full and complete support of the USA!” In a statement to news station Brazil247, Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro also showed deep concern regarding the fires. “Venezuela expresses its deep concern about the gigantic and terrible fires that devastate the Amazon region in the territory of several South American countries, with very serious impacts on the population, ecosystems and biological diversity of the area,” he said.

Even large companies are involved in efforts to stop the fires. Apple CEO Tim Cook pledged that Apple would be “donating to help preserve its biodiversity and restore the Amazon’s indispensable forest across Latin America.”