Sep 5, 2019
The Amazon rainforest is in trouble - and that means we’re all in trouble. As the world’s largest rainforest - covering approximately 2.2 million square miles - the Amazon is very much the lungs of our planet. Now, our lungs are filling with smoke.
2019 has seen an 85% increase in recorded fires in the Amazon rainforest compared to 2018, with 73,000 incidents having occurred this year so far. This shocking escalation has turned the function of the rainforest on its head - with smoke from the fires releasing huge quantities of carbon into the atmosphere.
The Amazon’s trees contain 140 billion tonnes of carbon - equivalent to what humans produce over the course of a century - and the forest fires are not-so-gradually turning this into atmospheric pollution. By August 20th, the fires had already produced 23 million tonnes of CO2 - nearly a quarter of the entire UK energy industry’s CO2 output for 2018.1
With studies estimating that the Amazon absorbs upwards of 2 billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year, the rainforest is a crucial factor in keeping our air clean. But as the man-made fires rage on, we are in danger of tipping the balance the other way. Here’s what you can do to help.
Donate to WWF’s emergency appeal
The World Wildlife Fund already has teams deployed in the Amazon, and the money raised in this emergency appeal will fund work on the ground alongside local organisations.
Funds go towards providing local and indigenous communities with medical support, firefighter training and security. WWF also works with local governments to provide assistance in fighting wildfires and deforestation, as well as monitoring wildlife, rescue and recovery projects.
You can donate here.
Spread the word
Social media is a major tool in the modern world, enabling millions to unite their voices as one to express outrage, organise action and effect change. Each voice that speaks out makes the collective cry louder, so it’s vital that we speak out against social, political and economic injustice of the Amazon fires - and help ensure that it doesn’t happen again down the line.
Share updates about the fires, tag influencers into the conversation and make your voices heard. The rainforests belong to all of us.
Sign the WWF petition
The WWF petition has already had a major impact, with the 100,000 people who signed it in the first four days directly leading to the UK government providing funding pledges by way of assistance. But there’s more to be done.
The UK is still importing products that rely on deforestation, and making them available for purchase on the UK market. Global governments are still failing to tackle the global deforestation emergency, and still dragging their feet when it comes to transitioning to a sustainable, climate-friendly future.
Signing the WWF’s petition puts pressure on the UK government to smash the system that’s driving deforestation and forest fires - to fight the root causes of this environmental tragedy.
Sign the petition here.
Learn to live sustainably
The surge in deforestation causing the Amazon forest fires can be attributed to the illegal clearing of land to make space for cattle rearing and agriculture. As such, it’s clear that the fires are linked to the demand to livestock for meat and dairy, and growing crops to feed the livestock. There is a direct link between the meat and dairy we eat and the deforestation of the world’s rainforests.
By moderating your meat intake, eating more - and a wider variety of - plant-based foods and wasting less of what we buy are all great ways to reduce our impact on the environment. Where possible, it is also highly beneficial to know where your food is coming from, and to avoid resource-intensive ultra-processed foods as much as you can. Small changes like this can help reduce the demand for foods that require the destruction of rainforests.
Switch to renewable energy
Perhaps one of the biggest changes you can make to improve your carbon footprint as an individual is to make sure you’re powering your home with 100% renewable electricity - with ours coming from a mix of wind and solar farms. You can also offset any gas usage too thanks to our tariffs that invest is global projects which improve sustainability and support reforestation - helping reduce the strain on the world’s existing rainforests. Switching energy supplier takes only 2 minutes - and it directly helps fight climate change that in turn exacerbates forest fires, such as those in the Amazon.
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