New data released by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) suggests that Brazil’s Amazon forest has recorded an all time high number of fires in 2019. The largest rainforest on Earth, the Amazon plays a critical role in slowing down the pace of global warming as it produces 20% of the world’s oxygen. It is difficult to pinpoint why the fires started because of the number of fires in the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon is important in the fight against global warming because of its ability to absorb carbon from the air – this is why it is often called the “lungs of the Earth”. More than 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced there and it is also home to approximately three-million different types of plant and animal species, as well as one-million indigenous people.

It is reported that a blackout in the city of São Paulo, located more than 2 700km away from the rainforest, has been caused by the thick billowing smoke from the fires. Some Brazilian meteorlogists, however, believe the smoke causing low visibility in São Paulo has been caused by fires in Paraguay, not from the Amazon.

According to INPE, they detected more than 74 000 fires between January and August – the highest number since recorded since 2013. They also observed more than 9 500 forest fires break out since August 15, with many concentrated in the region of the Amazon.

In 2018, there were more than 40 000 fires reported during the same period, while there was a high of 68 000 fires reported during 2016.

Yesterday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro claimed that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were behind the recent Amazon fires, as the national government had recently cut their funding.

When asked for evidence to these claims, Bolsonaro said he did not have any. “Crime exists,” he said during a Facebook Live. “These people are missing the money.”

A man who lives in the Amazon basin has started a petition and is gathering signatures to spur the Brazilian government into action, as there no reports of significant intervention to douse the fires.

“We are asking the authorities to set up an inquiry to investigate what is leading to the increase in fires in this region and hold the culprits to account,” the petition reads. “More than half of the fires are in the Amazon, which is not only killing biodiversity and ecosystems, but also damaging the health of millions, especially the elderly and children who cannot breathe due to smoke.”

If you would like to sign, you can click here.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

This is Darkness for all of humanity. #dontlookaway . #Repost @decolonizethisplace with @get_repost ・・・ #amazonrainforest 🔥🔥🔥 The Amazon rainforest provides 20% of the world’s oxygen in the atmosphere and home for many. People are deliberately starting fires in effort to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching. #Bolsonaro is allowing this and more || media is not reporting and because of so much smoke Sao Paolo went pitch black yesterday || This ridiculous s**t has been going on for 3 weeks. 💥 As the #Zapatistas have said recently, you are either with the system and with death or with nature and with life. F**k capitalism, leaders, bosses, and borders || #decolonizethisplace #amazonrainforestemergency #amazonfires #brazil #amazon #climatedisaster #climatechange 🔥🔥🔥 @buzzfeed — https://www.buzzfeednews.com/skbaer/sao-paulo-darkness-amazon-fires

A post shared by Lina Puerta (@linapuertaart) on

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

So what can you do??#Repost @piperperabo • • • • • Gravely concerned by news of the #AmazonFires. It’s so important that we care for the rainforest and support the indigenous communities who live there. (Hat tip Baz Luhrmann) https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/world/americas/amazon-rainforest.html Also an amazing way to take action and that an activist friend sent me on twitter here: https://twitter.com/yumcoconutmilk/status/1164292955202555905?s=21 . . #Repost @rainforestalliance The lungs of the Earth are in flames. 🔥 The Brazilian Amazon—home to 1 million Indigenous people and 3 million species—has been burning for more than two weeks straight. There have been 74,000 fires in the Brazilian Amazon since the beginning of this year—a staggering 84% increase over the same period last year (National Institute for Space Research, Brazil). Scientists and conservationists attribute the accelerating deforestation to President Jair Bolsonaro, who issued an open invitation to loggers and farmers to clear the land after taking office in January.⁣ ⁣ The largest rainforest in the world is a critical piece of the global climate solution. Without the Amazon, we cannot keep the Earth’s warming in check. ⁣ ⁣ The Amazon needs more than our prayers. So what can YOU do?⁣ ⁣ ✔ As an emergency response, donate to frontline Amazon groups working to defend the forest. ⁣ ✔ Consider becoming a regular supporter of the Rainforest Alliance’s community forestry initiatives across the world’s most vulnerable tropical forests, including the Amazon; this approach is by far the most effective defense against deforestation and natural forest fires, but it requires deep, long-term collaboration between the communities and the public and private sectors. Link in bio.⁣ ✔ Stay on top of this story and keep sharing posts, tagging news agencies and influencers. ⁣ ✔ Be a conscious consumer, taking care to support companies committed to responsible supply chains.⁣ ✔ When election time comes, VOTE for leaders who understand the urgency of our climate crisis and are willing to take bold action—including strong governance and forward-thinking policy.⁣ ⁣ #RainforestAlliance #SaveTheAmazon #PrayForAm

A post shared by Monica Yepes (@momoni1111) on

 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

How can humans have become so ignorant? Yes…It’s true that wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil, but they are also deliberately started in efforts to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching! And if not that, then drought is to blame, which is also ultimately happening because of us…humans! The Amazon is responsible for producing 20% of the air we breathe! The space agency confirmed that the large number of wildfires could not be attributed to the dry season or natural phenomena alone! When are we going to wake up?????? Stop posting everywhere ‘pray for the Amazonia rain forest’! Stop being hypocrites and take some of the responsibility. The fires are our fault! Yes, ours, humans’!! And they are an unmistakable sign of how we, humans, are radically reshaping the planet! Shame on us! Want to pray for something? Pray for all of us, humans, to be eradicated from a planet we do NOT deserve! #amazonforest #deforestation #burning #natureisdying #govegan #veganismistheanswer #vegansofig #amazonforest #picoftheday #photooftheday #cattleranching #deforestationawareness #vegansaroundtheworld #veganpower #forest #earth #planetearth #endangeredspecies #spaceagency #fire #amazonfires #forestfires #humanfactor #reshapingtheplanet #vegancommunity #veganism #vegano

A post shared by Vegan Food (@thrive_with_plants) on

 

 

Picture: Thriving with Plants/Instagram

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.