Stretching over 5.5 million km2 , covering most of the South American countries and holding treasure of biodiversity are the lungs of our planet, the Amazon rainforest. It is the world’s richest and most varied hotspot of economically viable flora and fauna. It has always been a victim of extortion and exploitation, but lately it has gotten worse.
The last year began with the news of massive wildfires that had engulfed the rainforests. But how do wildfires start? Well, the forests are very humid and hot, and with frictional activity of hot air with dried leaves and trees they catch fire. However, they are many times set on fire illegally.
Why is the Amazon being cleared?
Besides the fires, they are now being drastically uprooted. It is very clear that resource extraction is incessantly increasing. According to the Time magazine; supported by research, the increasing demand of food crops is also a major reason. Agriculture on a commercial basis requires vast areas of land, and hence comes the clearing. Logging yards, cattle pastures and soy farms sit on the verge of a vanishing forest. The increasing production of beef, and hence the need for grazing areas is depleting it with relentless speed. Amazon is abundantly rich in other commercially important plants like rubber, rosewood, acacia, myrtle, Brazil nut and many others, and their extraction is going beyond a reversible state.
Trees are the only source of fresh oxygen for us, and needless to say the deforestation of Amazon is contributing to the Carbon load that the earth is experiencing. As per the data of the National Climate Change journal of UK, from 2010-19 Brazil’s Amazon rainforests released up to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 accounted for by the fires and felling. When such a huge focal point of green cover is put under constant stress, its result is also much more amplified. A large number of animals, birds, insects and fish are also disappearing by the day. The IUCN listed the South American Tapirs, Otters, Uakari monkey, Blue Macaw, which is indigenous to the Amazon, and many others species as endangered. The Amazon is also home to human tribes. The Karipuna indigenous people depend on the forest for their livelihood. They cohabit with nature and are now at the risk of being dislocated.
Many people stood up against the reckless deforestation of the Amazon. They joined with the indigenous people and took to the UN. Organizations have been protesting vigorously. “Amazonia e do po” which means Amazon belongs to the people became a common protest slogan on the mouth of every Brazilian and South American.
Geo-politics of Amazon disruption.
Any activity that takes place on a large scale has some administrative backing. Encyclopedia Britannica in its studies has highlighted the Brazilian government's funding towards the felling of green cover of Amazon. It has been providing farmers with incentives for production of agricultural crops and beef farming. Since 2018, there has been a surge in Amazon depletion. Jair Bolsonaro has openly supported deforestation for more commercial production. Development and economic growth are imperative to any nation, however choosing it over the exploitation of nature at such an exponential will end up working against us in the long run. Brazil is also a developing economy like India. So for emerging economies like us, it is all the more important to be responsible and have sustainable plans of growth.