Time to wake up and smell the smoke


Gabby Lancaster

Usually, when people talk about Amazon, they are referring to the international company that supplies technology and delivers almost instantly. However, recently the Amazon rainforest has become a major subject of debate and outrage. 
The Amazon, the world’s biggest rainforest, is currently on fire in an effort to create room for cattle pastures. The fires have occurred extremely frequently this year, and at the highest rate of occurrence since 2010. 
Celebrities like Gigi Hadid and Leonardo DiCaprio have spoken up about the catastrophe, calling on people to donate money in an effort to preserve the Amazon. The hashtag trends: #SavetheAmazon and #PrayfortheAmazon have been used by numerous people, although critics urge people to take action instead of simply “praying.”
 The Brazilian president, Jair Bolosonaro, faced relentless criticism for his lack of agency to such a vital ecosystem. Detractors believe he is capable of protecting the Amazon, but in efforts to maintain his power, he refuses. 
 Donald Trump, the incumbent president of the United States, remains an ally to the Brazilian president. 
Amazon fires don’t just affect Brasil or South America; they have a global impact. Often called the lungs of the planet, the Amazon is responsible for absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide in the air and releasing oxygen. Normally, leaves that fall off in the autumn re-release the carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. However, the Amazon contains mostly evergreen trees with a stable climate and mostly even rainfall, the rainforest is an important environmental protector against issues like climate change.
Because a considerable amount of rainfall in the Amazon is produced by the forest’s own humidity, these fires can exacerbate the dry season of the Amazon and lower the amount of moisture in the air, causing more fires to naturally occur. 
“In my opinion, this is an issue that everyone should care about. it doesn’t matter what your political or economic beliefs are, this crisis is killing the very planet we live on, our only home. we need to come together as a whole to fight this problem that could be the end of life as we know it.” Junior Abigail Ryan said. 
Another aspect of this contentious issue is the indigenous Amazonians. The levels of deforestation threaten their natural habitat. 
Some people argue that there needs to be a more complex solution to protecting the Amazon rainforest, instead of simply demanding Brasil conserve it. 
“You have to provide an economic program that incentivizes people to leave that stuff (natural habitats) intact. You have to make it monetarily worthwhile to preserve those ecosystems. So we have to do the same thing with the Amazon. It is not enough to just say- you have to provide some kind of incentive to convince people to do that. It one of the reasons that hunters, ironically, are so absolutely vital to the wildlife populations. Without hunters, things like bison, deer, they have no monetary value and they’re going to be lost in a consumeristic, capitalistic world,” AP Environvermnetal Science and Biology teacher Mr. Rittner said. 
Thankfully, as of now, seven South American countries have agreed to a pact that will better protect the Amazon, including the usage of a disaster response network and satellite monitoring.