by Liliana, The Calhoun School, Class of 2020
As I sit behind my computer screen writing this post, the Amazon rainforest is deteriorating at an alarming rate. Out of the 550 million hectares of lush greenery that make up the Amazon rainforest, an approximate 900 thousand were burned away by forest fires in 2019 (photo on the left depicts the amount of fires in August of 2019 alone.) The plethora of flora and fauna species who have called the forest home for centuries are being stripped of their habitats. Several of those species can only be found in the Amazon and are on the verge of extinction. To top it all off, the thirty million (yes, thirty million!) people who inhabit the rainforest are being forced into constant relocation where clean water is scarce. The amount of miscarriages and birth defects in newborn children have begun to skyrocket. The forest is dying, and yet not a single media news outlet seems to be bringing the issue to public attention.
We have our politicians to blame for the Amazon’s suffering. The surplus in illegal industrial human activity (cattle ranching, gold mining, oil welling, etc.) has proven that all politicians seem to be concerned about are the success of businesses that benefit from the forest fires. Industries that sell timber,
paper products, and soy products are the main culprits behind the increase of deforestation in the area. Currently, there are 3,435 oil wells located in the Ecuadorian section of the rainforest. More than 150 acres of the forest are burned every minute of each passing day. Politicians fail to comprehend that the forest holds cultural and spiritual significance for the indigenous tribes that reside there. Take Jair Bolsonaro, the current president of Brazil. Bolsonaro is a businessman who prioritized personal disputes with other politicians over the wellbeing of the forest. The lack of strict regulations surrounding the Amazon reveals just how indifferent Bolsonaro is when it comes to such illegal activities continuing.The forest should not have to lose its valuable resources and biodiversity to bulldozers, cranes, and saws.
While I wish there was more we could do to resolve the issue directly, there are small things we could alter about our own lives that would make a huge difference in the long run. Organizations such as Amazon Frontlines are accepting donations for their #lessoilmorewater campaign (all funds will go toward the materials needed for construction of water tanks in the Amazon and helps provide wages for the technicians hard at work.) Additionally, we could all take the steps needed to leading a more sustain
able lifestyle. Instead of using copy paper all the time, invest in notebooks / papers made of recyclable material. Investing in Ellie Pooh®️ papermakers, whose paper is made using 70% recycled paper and 30% elephant dung, will provide you with great quality paper. Let’s all come together to protest the destruction of the forest!