Nature

Amazon Fires: A Big Setback in The Fight Against Climate Change

The Amazon fires in the Amazon Rain Forest, hundreds and possibly thousands of kilometers away. It’s possible you are in Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania or even in America far away from Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, etc that border the Amazon fires.

Your mindset maybe it’s none of my business, It doesn’t bother me and I’m not affected. If that’s how you feel about the fires, you are in for a very terrible shock.

For quite a number of years now, the talks have been global warming, greenhouse gases, emission of CO2, melting of icebergs, and climate change. Governments, agencies, world bodies, corporate organizations, and individuals have all been seeking out for ways to combat all these phenomena.

Human, financial, and technological resources have been sunk into means and ways of averting the very dangerous outcomes and effects of these phenomena. And when we think we may be making some headway, out of the blues pops out the Amazon fires.

Why should you take the Amazon fires seriously?

The Amazon rainforest is by any standard, the world’s largest rainforest, spanning eight countries and covers 40% of South America. The World Wildlife Fund says that the Amazon rainforest is nearly the size of two-thirds of the US. 

Apart from the fact that more than 30 million people live in the Amazon, it is also the habitat to large numbers and a variety of plants, mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, most of them unique to the region. The most important contribution of the Amazon rainforest to the equilibrium and sustenance of the global ecosystem is that around 20 percent of the oxygen produced by photosynthesis on land is produced here.

Therefore, if Amazon goes up in flame, two-thirds of which is in Brazil, it’s of big concern and threat to the rainforest ecosystem as well as every life on the earth.

CREDIT: Ueslei Marcelino / REUTERS

How did we get to this present situation?

There have been reports from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (known as “INPE”)  since the beginning of 2019, to the effect that there were 72,843 fires in the country. The report also point blankly said that more than half of these fires are seen in the Amazon region. 

The institute goes further to report that An 80% increase in deforestation has occurred so far this year compared to last year, according to the institute. An increase in the rate of deforestation has been noticed since Bolsonaro took office last year. 

Quite unlike what used to obtain, hundreds of fires are being set in order to clear the rainforest for agricultural use.  All evidence point to the fact that Bolsonaro doesn’t seem to be taking the fires as seriously as other international leaders.

Naturalist Paul Rosolie proffered a reason for this when he said that “The standing rainforest, while it’s producing ecosystem services for all of us, it’s not making money for him. And so that may need to change … it’s really short term gain versus health for everybody, and long term health for the planet.”

What Bolsonaro is doing with the Amazon rainforest is a game of money and politics to the detriment of the health of the planet. You must realize that the Amazon has been playing the role of the “soakaway” for carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas that is emitted mainly from burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas produced around the globe, according to WWF

From the carbon cycle, we discover that plants remove CO2 from the atmosphere and absorb it for photosynthesis, yielding carbohydrates, which allow plants to grow and releasing oxygen back into the air. Global warming has been adduced to excessive carbon dioxide emissions and the world at large is doing everything possible to combat this problem.

It’s therefore, a big source of concern, why Bolsonaro will want to jeopardize efforts and huge resources that have been expended to battle the menace. Before the recent fires, the Amazon forest released up to 0.5 billion metric tons of carbon per year due to deforestation, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

The fear now is that at the rate deforestation is going in concert with other ecological conditions, the Amazon may tend towards becoming a source of CO2 instead of a soakaway. With that, it will abandon its role of preserving the planet from the effects of global warming and become a serious source and principal contributor of CO2. 

It becomes harmful by emitting large quantities of carbon dioxide and a precursor to climate change and global warming. Greenpeace, in annoyance as to how Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, and his government seemingly are contributing to the menace of climate change by their deforestation program called them a “threat to the climate equilibrium.”

Where do you place the fact that the smoke from forest fires burning in the states of Amazonas and Rondonia, more than 1,700 miles away, blackened Sao Paulo for more than one hour? How has this smoke affected lives around the environment?

 “The Amazon is incredibly important for our future, for our ability to stave off the worst of climate change,” said Poirier. “This isn’t hyperbole. We’re looking at untold destruction — not just of the Amazon but for our entire planet.”

Photo Credit: CIFOR Flickr via Compfight cc

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About John Ejiofor

John Ejiofor is a curious life-researcher, whose quest to finding answers to life's pertinent questions has led to founding Nature Torch. This blog aims to debate and explore many questions about our earth -- including those a lot of people are uncomfortable with asking. He has been published on some of the internet's most respected websites, which you can find online.
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