By **Alishba Shezal Ali
Darkness settles as the planet’s lungs are engulfed in flames. The air is congealed with thick black clouds of smoke, the remnants of what once stood tall is now burned to the ground.
Yes, the Amazon rainforest is burning. As of August 2019, the number of fires reported in Brazil was 72, 843 with over 40, 000 have occurred in the Amazon region alone. Alberto Setzer, a senior scientist at Brazil’s space research centre, says that 99% of the fires are a direct result of human action. The statement holds true for the Amazon, home to the discovered and the undiscovered, is a tropical rainforest with extremely humid conditions persevering. Forests located in drier conditions are more susceptible to wildfires than forests like the Amazon.
Environmentalists have speculated the causes for such a rapid increase in these fires. First and foremost, Brazil’s newly elected government presented a change in policies such that it decreased the stipulations presented for the protection of the rain forest because of the government’s agribusiness ideologies.
This, in turn, served as a catalyst causing local farmers to deforest land for cattle ranching illegally. Another reason for the rapid deforestation is the clearance of land for human settlement and development of land for agriculture and mining.
The consequences are simple. No rain forest, no rains. Loss of biodiversity and accelerated global warming. Moreover, Amazon is the world’s most giant carbon dioxide sink, which means that it helps regulate the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. The more it burns, the more upset the ecosystem becomes and therefore, the carbon dioxide concentration rises rapidly.
Another very important point is the displacement of the indigenous people who have made homes in or near the rain forest. Farmers continue to violate the rights of these people as they drive them from their homes.
Scientists say that the protection and preservation of this forest of 390 billion trees is extremely vital before it reaches its tipping point. That is, irreversible damage turning this beautiful green landscape into a dreary dry savannah.
It’s as Rachel Carson says, “In the artificial world of his cities and towns, he often forgets the true nature of his planet and the long vistas of its history, in which the existence of the race of the men has occupied a mere moment of time.”
During recent G 7 summit, an amount of $22m was announced by the leaders of the G7 summit, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and the US. Mr Macron, France promised to make the funds available immediately for firefighting planes for Amazon forest.
Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro, However, is not comfortable with the arrangements. He opines that not only the funds are insufficient but also doubts the intention of the EU. He said, “Brazil is like a virgin that every pervert from the outside lusts for.” He further alleges that European interest in the welfare of the Amazon is a thin guise for attempts to gain a foothold in the region.
We need to be honest with ourselves. All countries of the world must invest in their forests and rich industrialist countries, actually responsible for polluting the world; should sincerely and generously help protect Amazon rain-forests.
The Amazon is burning, and most of the world leaders appear to be indifferent. If that is how things go, the world will soon suffocate, too.
**The author is student of MBBS at Rawalpindi Medical University