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Amazon fires reveal embarrassing truth about humanity

By Kayla Lupedee

As 2019 progresses, the Amazon rainforest has suffered from extreme forest fires. The burning of the Amazon was originally seen as a natural disaster during the dry season of the year. However, it has been found that these enormous fires are the consequences of a much more provocative issue: deforestation from farmers in desire of more agricultural space.

Stretching across several countries in South America, the Amazon is known as the largest tropical rainforest, providing the earth with high levels of biodiversity and standing as an important factor in stabilizing the Earth’s climate. 

According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, over 74,000 fires have spread across the Amazon in 2019. Not only does this harm the wildlife that lives in the Amazon , but it also raises a frightening question: Can our planet survive without the Amazon’s high quantities of vegetation?

Our Earth’s lungs are in anguish and something must be done to save our planet.

 With climate change on the rise, we must come together to keep our glaciers, oceans, and forests intact as best as possible. As more environmentalists are coming forward, advocating to keep our oceans clean and informing the public of the solemnity of melting glaciers, the burning of the Amazon sprung up as a shock; especially since it originally was not being covered by major news stations. 

 I find it depressing and utterly alarming that major news corporations have not provided the amount of coverage that this catastrophic event deserves. Instead, simple and lighthearted banter, such as Popeyes’ new chicken sandwich, has been taking over news platforms and social media outlets, obstructing the significance of helping subdue the fires of the Amazon rainforest. 

 As someone who comes from a beachy home-front back at the Jersey shore, I empathize so strongly with those who live close to the Amazon, watching their beloved home being burned to the ground while having very little power to provide aid in ending the fires. After seeing the oceans back home littered so immensely, I can feel in my heart how painful it is to witness familiar surroundings being destroyed right in front of your eyes. 

 Not only is it melancholy to watch the Amazon burn—even from states, countries, or continents away—but it also elicits an extreme level of anger and frustration. When higher public figures have the authority and the ability to make changes to a devastation, yet don’t properly act on it, it truly makes me question where our society’s morals are at. 

 It appears that Brazilian public figures are attempting to shield the truth about the causes of these fires. For instance, in a recent tweet, Ricardo Salles, the Brazilian Minister, places blame on the “Dry weather, wind, and heat.” However, according to researchers it would be arrogant to believe these fires are simply results of poor weather circumstances. The burning of the Amazon is intentional deforestation and slash-and-burn practices from laborers in search of more room for agriculture or other industrial developments. 

 How devastatingly embarrassing is it to live in a world that turns the other cheek when their planet is crying out for help? We must set out priorities straight. 

 After the Notre Dame fire in April, over $1 billion were raised and donated within two days of the cathedral’s burning. If our world could come together and help provide money towards fighting the Amazon fires, just as they did for the church in Paris, we might have a shot at salvaging what is remaining of the rainforest. 

 Though on the outside it resembles a lackluster strip of trees, the Amazon rainforest engulfs beautiful wonders within. Greenery spills all over the forest floors and rises high into the sky. Biodiversity lives inside, representing eclectic colors, sizes, and shapes. 

 The Amazon is a home: welcoming many plants and animals. The Amazon is a protector: shielding us from floods, droughts, and erosion. The Amazon is a caretaker: holding viable sources of medicines and foods.  

 The Amazon rainforest is much more than something that should be overlooked.

Kayla Lupedee can be reached at Kayla.lupedee@spartans.ut.edu

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