The Amazon burns, along with hope for the future

It’s strange. Sometimes it takes forever to realize something so evident. After thousands of square kilometers of rainforest land burns, it’s an eye-opener as to how much the planet has been damaged and the harmful things humans do unintentionally and intentionally to the environment. Of course, it’s pretty hard to miss the fact that the environment has been under much harm. But what’s not as obvious is the severity of the problems impacting the Earth. Unfortunately, it can be hard to truly care about something until an enormous event occurs.

Here’s a very current issue: the Amazon Rainforest that is burning as this is being typed. The vivid, neon flames are a form of protest; a way in which the Earth is screaming in desperation. The “lungs of the Earth” have been on fire for about 3 weeks now. The Amazon Rainforest is regarded as the Earth’s “lungs” because it produces more than 20% of our planet’s oxygen. Researchers claim that these fires are, in fact, a result of human actions such as mining, drilling, and farming ( Global warming and deforestation are contributors as well. The rainforest has been catching on fire more frequently ever since the Earth started to experience climate spikes. To sum it up, this vast, extreme fire is mainly the fault of humans.

A few days ago, the forest fire brought a thick blackness to the skies of São Paulo, a big city almost 2,000 miles away from the Amazon. For many, this was the point when concern really struck. 17% of the rainforest has already burned away over the past 50 years and researchers expect 25% to 40% of the forest to be ablaze by the time the current fire meets its end. This is a devastating eye-opener. Luckily, there has been much more awareness brought to this issue in the past week.

A quick google search about environmental degradation will escort one to By fault of deforestation, 5-10% of tropical forest organisms will go extinct every decade. 27% of the Earth’s coral reefs have been demolished and 60% more will languish within the next 30 years if this rate continues. The area of the garbage that is floating in our ocean, the “garbage island”, is the size of Mexico, India, and Europe combined. 80% of the world’s forests have been lost and we are currently losing 375 square kilometers of forest land per day. These are intense realities of the world and they really put things into perspective.

The environment really matters. The Earth is life. Without its resources, there’s no capability to live. Means of living are all derived from the environment and several world systems are based on the realities of the Earth. Sustainable living is truly important in order for future generations to have the resources humans need from the planet. But more than humans, there are 8.7 million other species in the world that deserve protection and stable habitats. The pollution, waste, and deforestation are not really helping. But then, what’s the alternative to cutting down trees? Wood and paper as materials have such large presences in the world. And how else can toxic gases be disposed of? These are difficult questions to answer, along with numerous others. Is it naive to complain about human damage to the environment when it’s very hard to come up with viable solutions? Possibly. It’s so easy to say that “xyz” and should be reduced and “abc” should be abolished, but it’s pretty difficult to figure out what material should be used as a paper substitute, for example. But when there is a will, there is a way. There must be some alternatives that can be enforced. Systems can be changed. They’ll have to be changed in order to save the Earth.



This story was updated on Aug. 29 to update the statistic on how much land is burning.