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The Amazon rainforest is on fire – here’s what you can do to help

Posted by
Lauren Geall
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Amazon rainforest fires

The Amazon rainforest has been burning for over three weeks – here’s all the ways you can stop this from happening in the future.

As you read this, devastating fires are continuing to spread across the Amazon rainforest.

The planet’s largest tropical rainforest is currently being ravaged by wildfires which are putting three million species of plants and animals at risk, and endangering the lives of one million indigenous people. The Amazon is known as the “lungs of the planet” because the area produces 20% of the Earth’s oxygen. It also remains a key weapon in the fight against climate change – but the fires are putting all of this at risk.

Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil (which runs from July-October, peaking in late September), but farmers and loggers also purposefully set fire to the rainforest in order to clean land for industrial and agricultural use.

Amazon rainforest fires
Amazon rainforest fires: many of the fires are man made, and were started in order to clear land for agricultural and industrial purposes.

There have been more than 72,000 fire outbreaks in the country so far this year, of which half have occurred in the Amazon. This is an 84% increase on the same period in 2018, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research.

While there’s no denying that awareness of this ecological crisis has grown astronomically over the last couple of weeks, there is still a lack of urgency from public officials to take real, tangible action.

This weekend, leaders of the G7 countries offered $20m (£16m), a sum which environmental campaigners have called “chump change,” to aid the fight against the fires, but a senior Brazilian official rejected the donation. Meanwhile, Brazilian president Jair Bolsanaro criticised the move as having a “colonialist mentality”. 

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With all this going on in the background, it can often feel like we’re powerless to do anything to help this alarming situation, but while there’s no way to directly stop the fires that are already raging in the Amazon, there are things we can do to protect and prevent further fires from happening. Below we’ve collated a list of the ways you can help the Amazon rainforest right now, and protect it for the future.

Support the WWF’s Emergency Appeal

The WWF’s Emergency Appeal aims to ensure local and indigenous communities’ needs for medical care, fire fighter training and security are met. The donations will also pay for the WWF’s Amazon teams to work with local governments to establish procedures for fire fighting and deforestation, and fund a campaign to demand stronger action from the government.

Protect an acre of the rainforest through Rainforest Action Network’s program

The Protect-An-Acre program supports frontline communities, Indigenous-led organisations and allies to secure protection. 

Donate to the Amazon Conversation Association

Amazon rainforest fires
Amazon rainforest fires: donate to organisations which train local people to prevent and put out fires.

The organisation provides local communities and governments with fire prevention training and supplies, and uses a real-time satellite monitoring program to quickly locate burning forests and report the information in real time to local authorities so that they can take action before the situation escalates. 

Donate to Amazon Watch

Amazon Watch protect the Amazon by supporting indigenous people and challenging disastrous development projects and natural resource extraction.

Donate to the Rainforest Trust’s Conservation Action Fund

Amazon rainforest fires
Amazon rainforest fires: the fires have caused widespread destruction, putting the lives of one million indigenous people at risk.

The fund helps to stop the destruction and deforestation of rainforests all over the world, acre by acre.

Sign a petition

Make your voice heard by signing a petition for the Brazilian government to take action in the face of rainforest destruction. 

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Images: Getty

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Lauren Geall

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