August was another reminder of the importance of environmental awareness as the world’s lungs were set on fire. The Amazons are the world’s largest rainforest and a vital part of keeping global warming from getting worse.
Fires are not a rare thing in the Amazons. They normally occur due to natural circumstances but this year it is believed that farmers are the ones to blame by clearing the lands for farming. These farmers are also responsible for a large part of the Brazilian economy. About 200 million cattle have been raised in the past years and a large portion of land has been cleared for cattle ranching. However, experts believe that cattle ranching is to blame for 80 percent of the deforestation.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro deployed armed forces and ordered a 60-day ban on setting farmers the problem is deforestation. The ban stopped more burning but by August most of the deforestation had already occurred according to Ane Alencar, the science director of the non-profit Amazon Environmental Research Institute.
It is suggested that 7,747 square kilometers of the Brazilian rainforest was cleared this year but there could about a 30% increase in the actual number of affected land. This would make it the worst deforestation year since 2008.
Slash-and-burn agriculture leaves a layer of nutrient ash that is used to fertilize the soil. Critics of the current Brazilian president say that his policies are to blame for the rise of deforestation. The budget of the environmental protection agency has been reduced by 24 percent and even canceled some environmental fines.
The fires have also posed health threats for the people surrounding this large ecosystem. People have been cautioned to stay indoors as the air around them becomes more foggy every day. Indigenous people are also suffering from these terrible fires, as their homes as set to flames.