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The fires of the Amazon Rainforest are still burning: what happens and how can you help?


The fires in Brazil have raged for three weeks.

Carl De Souza / AFP / Getty Images

The Amazon rainforest is burning at a record rate – the highest since 2013 and up 83% over the previous year, Reuters reported. Earlier this month, Brazil declared a state of emergency because of the increasing number of fires in the region. So far this year, the Brazilian Space Research Center INPE has revealed nearly 73,000 fires.

What caused the fires?

While the Amazon Rainforest is typically humid and wet, July and August – the beginning of the dry season – are the driest months in the region with "activity." NASA's peak will be reached in early September, and it will be held until mid-November.

Fire is often used to clear the land for agriculture or livestock. That's why the vast majority of fires can be traced back to people, said Christian Poirier, program director of the nonprofit Amazon Watch, to CNN.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has publicly stated that he believes the fires were laid by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as a retaliatory measure for cutting funding . Bolsonaro provided no evidence for his allegations and later said he never accused groups according to the BBC.

What is the connection with climate change?

Greenpeace said in a press release on Thursday that forest fires and climate change are in a vicious circle. As the number of fires increases, so does the greenhouse gas emissions. This increases the overall temperature of the planet, the organization said. With increasing temperature, extreme weather events such as large droughts are becoming more common.

"In addition to increasing emissions, deforestation is directly contributing to a change in precipitation patterns in the affected region, prolonging the duration of the dry season and further affecting forests, biodiversity, agriculture and human health," said Greenpeace in the press release.

Which areas are affected?

Satellite images show fires in the Brazilian states of Amazonas, Rondonia, Para and Mato Grosso. According to Euronews, the state of Amazonas is hardest hit.

Damage to the Amazon goes far beyond Brazil and its neighbors. The rainforest of the region produces more than 20% of the world's oxygen and hosts 10% of the world's known biodiversity. The Amazon is called the "lungs of the planet" and plays an important role in the regulation of the climate. The world would change drastically if the rainforest disappeared, affecting everything from farms to drinking water.

The World Meteorological Organization, the United Nations Weather Service, tweeted about the fires Thursday.

Fires release pollutants, including particulate matter and toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and non-methane organic compounds into the atmosphere, "the organization said.

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How many fires are burning?

Over a 48-hour period through Thursday, there were more than 2,500 active fires in the Brazilian rainforest, the BBC reported Friday.

You can see the smoke from space. The European Union's Earth Observation Program's Sentinel satellites have taken pictures of "significant amounts of smoke" across Amazon, Rondonia and other areas. NASA has monitored the fires. Last week, satellites from the EU and NASA tweeted images of the smoke on social media.

On Tuesday, meteorologist Eric Holthaus tweeted data showing smoke from the fires that cover about half of Brazil. Later in the week, the BBC tweeted a map with similar data.

The sky over San Paulo, Brazil, turned black on Monday afternoon for an hour after a cold front, and the winds moved and carried smoke from a distance of about 1,700 miles. On Friday, Telesur TV reported that smoke could be seen from the fires in Argentina.

Were the fires extinguished?

The fires are still active. On Saturday, Amnesty International has taken a photo of the burned forests in the state of Mato Grosso. According to Euronews, Bolsonaro mobilizes the Brazilian army to fight the flames.

On Thursday there were reports of isolated rain and thunderstorms . It is unclear if the rain would help to extinguish the fires.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales commissioned a Boeing 747 "Supertanker" on Wednesday to support the extinction of the fires, Telesur reported. The supertanker can fly with 115,000 liters (over 30,000 gallons) and should be ready on Friday.

What do politicians do to help?

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he spoke to Bolsonaro.

"I told him that if the United States can help with the fires in the Amazon rainforest, we stand ready to help," Trump said in his post.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro expressed concern about the fires in Brazil and Bolivia and offered help to fight them. The Venezuelan Chancellery also expressed its solidarity with indigenous communities in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador and Peru.

"Venezuela is deeply concerned about the gigantic and terrible fires that devastate the Amazon region on the territory of several South American countries." Venezuela's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday in a statement to Brasil247 that it had a serious impact on the population that have ecosystems and biodiversity of the region.

The Venezuelan Bolivarian government also proposed a meeting of foreign ministers of the Amazon Cooperation Organization (ACTO) ) send a letter to Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza on Friday.

Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne also made a statement The fires in Brazil had been "extremely serious" and he had turned to the European Commission.

"The Brazilian rainforests are crucial to the global climate, and I am really concerned about the attitude that Brazil is currently taking towards its own forests, and Brazil should do everything it can to end the fires that are a threat to our entire planet Represent civilization, "said Rinne in the statement.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted on Thursday afternoon with the hashtag #ActForTheAmazon.

"Members of the G7 summit, let's discuss this first emergency order in two days!" Macron said at his post. Chancellor Angela Merkel supported Macron's call to put the Amazon fire on the agenda of the G7 this weekend, the Guardian reported on Friday.

The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has agreed to Macron tweeting again about the weekend's G7 fires.

In addition, British MP Rebecca Long-Bailey has written a letter to Prime Minister Boris. Johnson asks Johnson to tell Bolsonaro that the destruction of the Amazon must be stopped.

Bolsonaro was criticized. People accuse him of lacking action and promotion of logging and agriculture in the Amazon. In early July, an anonymous high-ranking Brazilian official told the BBC that Bolsonaro was promoting deforestation. Ricardo Galvão, director of the INPE, was released on 2 August after defending data showing that deforestation in June was 88% higher than a year ago, CNN reported. In a Facebook video, Galvão announced that he had been dismissed by the agency following a meeting with Brazil's Minister of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications, Marcos Pontes.

How has the public reacted?

#ActForTheAmazon began to spread on Twitter and protests began. In Zurich on Friday morning activists of the Klimastreik-Ökologiebewegung and Brazilians gathered in front of the Brazilian Consulate. In Dublin, the Extinction Rebellion Collective occupied the Brazilian Embassy. Twitter users have also taken pictures of a protest in Barcelona . Demonstrations have also begun in Paris, London, Madrid and Copenhagen, Denmark.

  Protest against Amazon rainforest fires by extinction of rebellion 1163381234.jpg

Members of an indigenous tribe from the Amazon sing during an Extinction rebellion on Friday in the Brazilian Embassy in London organized protests.

Mike Kemp / Getty Images

The hashtags #PrayforAmazonas and #AmazonRainforest were in vogue earlier this week. Twitter users have criticized the media paying more attention to the fire in Notre Dame and other news than the rainforest fires. Social media users also called on billionaires for lack of donations.

"The Sierra Club is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to protect mature growth forests in the US and elsewhere, particularly in the Amazon, calling on international lenders and institutions to invest in Brazil following the ruthless exploitation and destruction of President Jair Bolsonaro Javier Sierra, deputy communications director of the Sierra Club for Latin American Media, said in an email that this was an important resource for the future of humanity.

Sierra pointed out that both Norway and Germany had already announced Bolsonaro reverses the course.

"Those who are destroying the Amazon and continuing their deforestation are encouraged by the actions and policies of the Bolsonaro government. Since her inauguration, the current government has systematically dismantled Brazilian environmental policy, "said Danicley Aguiar of Greenpeace Brazil, a Thursday publication.

The World Wildlife Fund's Office for European Policy also issued a statement Thursday

" Given this The WWF urges the countries of the region – Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname – to destroy the Amazon, to fight deforestation and to reduce the causes of these fires as well as to curb the impact of the EU Consumption of deforestation and destruction of other ecosystems around the world associated with commodities such as soy, palm oil, cocoa or meat.

In addition, the actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio adds I have posted on his Instagram profile a donation link to Amazon Watch and reported on the fires.Celebrities such as Jameela Jamil Jaden Smith and John Cusack has also volunteered to talk about the fiery devastation on social media.

How can you help?

Here are some ways to help conserve the rainforest:

  • Donate to the Rainforest Action Network to protect one acre of the Amazon Rainforest.
  • Donate to the Rainforest Trust to help buy land in the rainforest, which has saved over 23 million acres since 1988.
  • Reduce Your Paper and Wood Usage Check with the Rainforest Alliance to make sure that what you buy is rainforest-proofed, or you can use rain forest-safe products on the Websi buy the Alliance.
  • Reduce your beef intake. Beef found in processed products and fast-food burgers is often associated with deforestation.
  • The World Wide Fund for Nature (known in the US and Canada as the World Wildlife Fund) protects species in the Amazon and around the world.
  • Ecosia.org is a search engine that plants a tree for every 45 searches you perform.
  • View the petitions of Change.org. An attorney in Rio Branco has collected over 3 million signatures to investigate the fires in the Amazon.
  • Donate to Amazon Watch, an organization that protects the rainforest, defends indigenous rights, and works to combat climate change.
  • Donated to the Amazon Conservation Team to fight climate change, protect the Amazon, and strengthen indigenous peoples.
  • Amazon Conservation accepts donations and pinpoints where your money is going. They can help plant trees, promote education, protect habitats, buy a solar panel, protect indigenous areas, and more.
  • Turn to your elected officials and listen to your voice.
  • Donate for One Tree Planted, which aims to halt deforestation around the world and in the Amazon rainforest. One Tree Planted will keep you informed about the Peru Project and how your trees affect the community.
  • Sign the Greenpeace petition calling on the Brazilian government to save the Amazon rainforest and protect the land of indigenous and traditional communities.

Originally released on August 21, 2019.
Updates on August 22 and August 23: Adds more background information and statements from Greenpeace, WWF EU and Sierra Club. Updates August 24: Adds more background. Update of August 25 .

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