by Leila Salazar-Lopez and Lindsey Allen
August 26, 2019
Called “the lungs of the Earth”, the Amazon rainforest and its lush trees make roughly 20% of the oxygen on Earth. Yet, right now, the skies of Sao Paolo, Brazil are black and the smoke can be seen from space.
Flames are ravaging the Amazon Basin. Though climate change has catalyzed many devastating blazes in recent years, these recent fires, experts say, were intentionally set by farmers who, responding to calls from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to develop the region, wanted to clear their land so it could be used for agriculture. As Bolsonaro put it, “the Amazon is open for business.”
But it’s on fire, and as it burns, the Amazon drastically contributes to the climate crisis —- both from the carbon released by the forest fires and from the loss of trees’ ability to absorb carbon in the future. A healthy Amazon is critical to the survival of not only the local and about 400 indigenous groups that call it home but to our entire planet.
The corporations and financial institutions that back the businesses Bolsonaro beckons drive this deforestation and destruction, and will generate tremendous short-term profits at the expense of the Amazon.
It’s a heartbreaking global emergency that requires immediate action.
Read more at https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/08