The Amazon Rainforest: A Beacon of the Biosphere

The Amazon Rainforest spans through the countries of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, the landscape makes up of 1.4 billion acres of dense forests. It contains one in ten of the known species on Earth. It is one of Earth’s greatest ecological contributors, containing “90-140 billion metric tons of carbon,” that helps stabilize the global climate. It is rightfully known for its incredible biological diversity, the region specifically containing 40,000 plant species, 3,000 freshwater fish species, and more than 370 types of reptiles. The Amazon is not only home to tropical fauna and flora, but also more than 30 million people, including 350 indigenous and ethnic peoples. Unfortunately, while the Amazon’s indigenous people work to preserve their home, capitalist efforts manifest themselves through deforestation, logging, mining, and urban development, all of which ultimately hurt the biodiverse land.

                                                                   A Turquoise-Fronted Parrot - Image Credit to Pexels

This summer, social media raised awareness about the human-caused fires occurring in the Amazon. According to The Hill, “by Aug. 31, 30,901 fires had been registered, an increase of 51 percent relative to the average of the last three years for the same period.” The Amazon’s wet climate allows it to rarely have naturally-caused forest fires. Research and data indicate that deforestation is one of the greatest contributors to the fires reported in recent years. In 2019, there was a nearly 50% increase in clear-cutting trees.

Though the social-media surge concerning the Amazon’s health has calmed, the preservation of the landscape remains a dire need. At the current rate of deforestation, climate change will have an even greater spike in the history of Earth, taking deathly tolls not only on biodiversity, but also on water supplies, crops, and the global economy. The recent fires in the Amazon must raise concern about the issue of climate change. Destroying one of the greatest contributors, if not the greatest contributor, to the biosphere is already reaping consequences on the natural and human life inhabiting it.

                                                                  Brazil - Image Credit to Pixabay

Solutions not only lie in the hands of the Brazilian government, but also in international efforts and policies. Nonprofit organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are working to prevent the predicted detrimental consequences of climate change indicated by extensive scientific research. These organizations are calling on government officials to enforce policies that protect our ecosystems to minimize harm to the Earth.

Proposed political solutions include making private deforestation illegal, perhaps incentivizing landowners with payments to preserve their land. Increased funding towards public forests and their upkeep is also a proposed solution towards forest conservation and reducing the consequences of climate change. Many also argue that the indigenous people inhabiting these forests should be the only ones preserving the land, as they are known greatly for their ability to use the land agriculturally while sustaining its biological dignity.

                                                                   Planet Over Profit - Image Credit to Pexels

It is important that a solution be at least chosen and attempted by Brazilian and international organizations and policies in order to preserve the Amazon and other important ecosystems. The preservation of the Amazon is only one vital factor in reducing the consequences caused by the toll of climate change. Not only is preserving the Amazon important in maintaining atmospheric balance, it is also important in protecting biodiversity. The Amazon fires show that direct human action, such as logging and deforestation, in addition to the long-term, indirect effects of climate change, are responsible for the reduction of biodiversity, driving organisms out of their habitats and destroying native flora. It is an international responsibility as well as an individual one to take action towards preserving Earth's ecosystems. The damage caused by humans will only continue without enforcing sound environmental policies, ones that refuse to serve capitalist efforts in the name of urban development.