After three weeks of not being reported, the world is finally hearing about the tragedy unfolding in Brazil as the Amazon Rainforest burns at an alarming rate. It is estimated that approximately a football pitch’s worth of forest is being destroyed every minute, which has dire consequences for the environment. Is there anything we, as individuals, can do to help?
Why Is the Amazon Rainforest Important?
Home to millions of species, the Amazon Rainforest is the most biologically diverse place on the whole planet. Much of the forest is still undiscovered, meaning there are plants and wildlife that are yet to be found by humans. These species could be the undiscovered cures for diseases that are currently incurable.
Beyond the flora and fauna though, the Amazon Rainforest is a massive source of oxygen for the planet. Plants absorb CO2, a greenhouse gas, for the process of photosynthesis which yields oxygen. This process helps to slow down global warming and create cleaner air.
When rainforests burn, trees’ carbon matter is released as CO2, polluting the already polluted atmosphere, so the burning down of the biggest rainforest in the world really has disastrous consequences for the environment.
How Can We Help Save The Amazon Rainforest?
Unfortunately, as individuals around the world, there is little we can do to stop the fires. That doesn’t mean we are completely helpless though, there is plenty we can do to help save rainforests from deforestation in general, which has seen an increase in the last ten years and is said to be a cause of the fires.
Reduce Paper and Wood Usage
The biggest cause of deforestation is logging, which is when trees are chopped and sold on to be made into furniture or paper. By limiting your paper usage and avoiding buying furniture that isn’t responsibly sourced, you can help to reduce demand for these products. Reducing demand, in turn, reduces production and as a result, less sourcing of materials i.e. trees from the Amazon Rainforest.
Boycott Companies Causing Damage
There are many companies that are directly responsible for the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest. Many companies use palm oil in their products which is sourced from the African oil palm tree. The problem is that because there is such a high demand for palm oil, natural rainforest is cleared to be able to plant these trees. According to the Independent, the installation of these palm oil plantations has caused the death of 100,000 orangutans in the last 16 years.
To decrease the demand for palm oil, we should unite together to boycott companies that use it. This includes companies such as Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, Mars, Nestlé, L’Oreal, and many more.
Avoid Eating Beef
The majority of beef used in fast food chains is sourced from South America, which means that demand for space is growing. It is too often the case that the rainforest is cleared to make space for raising cattle. The problem is that there is a huge demand for beef and people aren’t aware that deforestation is happening in order to meet that demand.
By avoiding eating beef, you would be reducing this demand and in turn discouraging the mass production companies to burn the forest. There are plenty of beef alternatives available which are worth exploring as cattle farming has many environmental impacts beyond deforestation.
Show Your Support to The Indigenous People
Not only is the Amazon Rainforest an important source of the whole world’s oxygen, but it’s home to many people, and deforestation destroys these people’s homes and communities.
Show your support to the indigenous people by signing this pledge by Amazon Watch, a company that has been protecting the Amazon and its people since 1996. The pledge swears to show solidarity with the people of Brazil in their fight against deforestation and efforts to rally the government to stop the fires.
Protect an Acre
If you’re able to, donating to a company that works to protect the rainforest can be invaluable. Companies such as the Rainforest Action Network run schemes like the Protect an Acre programme which distributes the money among 150 frontline communities and indigenous-led organizations which help to protect rainforests from deforestation. The money is essential to help local activists regain control of the land so that it cannot be cleared.
Protect the Amazon Rainforest
The fire that is destroying the precious rainforest is horrific, but the deforestation that was a cause of it is just as bad. At Kiwano, we encourage people to go out and explore this beautiful planet and see all that there is to see, but in order to do so, we need to protect it from the human activities that seek to destroy it, that is what eco-travel is all about. We need to protect what is left of the beautiful rainforest and help it to flourish for future generations to explore.
Kiwano can help you towards the first step of becoming a green traveller, by providing a list of green accommodations for you to stay at and giving you further tips on how to stay green as a traveller.