With the youth frequently being called “the hope for the future,” the weight of the world’s pitfalls rest heavy on the shoulders of the students at Cypress College and those around the world. The burning of the Amazon rainforest can be credited to deforestation. Anne Alencar, the director of science at the Amazon Environmental Institute (IPAM), says, “It’s crazy. We reduced deforestation by almost 65 percent in the past. We proved that we could do that. And now we’re going backwards.” This deforestation can be attributed to political acts. A major one being the lack of funding for environmental protection and science in Brazil. Due to the budget cuts, the rainforest is being set on fire in order to make room for profit without regulation and reprimand under the control of Brazil’s former President, Michel Temer, and current President, Jair Bolsonaro. The trade war between the US and China also contributes by placing Brazil in the perfect position to take over as the global leaders in soybean exports, accompanying their other leading export of beef. All of this has lead to deforestation in order to make room for pasture and planting.
On fire since January, the Amazon rainforest is causing great global concern. The fires have been ablaze since the beginning of the year and surpassed 100,000 fires in the month of August, 80% more fires than this time last year according to National Geographic. With the looming haze and problems of pollution that has choked up the world, Cypress students are left wondering what they can do to help.
WHAT CAN BE DONE
First and foremost, Christian Poirier, director of the Amazon Watch Brazil program, says that “We need to hold the Bolsonaro regime accountable for its responsibility in driving this crisis today.” Poirier says Bolsonaro has cut off all ties with any and all associations with those resisting his current government and even with those who attempt to discuss the issue of environmental preservation. Because of this, the issue has been taken globally and presented to the world in order to seek relief.
With Brazil’s main export commodities being beef and soy, Poirier states the importance of international buyers being conscious of what they are importing.
While the hashtags of support die down, the need for support persists.
CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS
Contacting your elected officials can be crucial in the process of getting things done. You can contact anyone from as local as your city mayor, to the President of the United States, and everyone in between. Contact them and let your voice be heard.
SIGN A PETITION
Although Bolsonaro seems unaffected by the opinions of others and the conservation of the Amazon burning, Greenpeace works to have the people’s voices heard in order to get the changes the Amazon needs.
BE A CONSCIOUS CONSUMER
With beef and soy being one of Brazil’s biggest exports, it can be beneficial to reduce these demands.
Check with the Rainforest Alliance https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/ to ensure the products you buy are in alliance with the conservation and restoration of the Amazon.
MAKE A DONATION
There are several organizations whose missions are to help protect and preserve the rainforest. Some of them being:
Rainforest Trust https://www.rainforesttrust.org/
An organization dedicated to purchasing and protecting the rainforest to ensure its longevity. Rainforest Trust claims to have saved about 23,000,000 acres of rainforest.
Amazon Watch https://amazonwatch.org/donate
Dedicated to protecting the rainforest, indigenous people, and addressing climate change, this organization can be crucial to preserving the Amazon.
Amazon Conservation Team https://4agc.com/donation_pages/7c8a347f-b26b-48a0-b1fa-67d94b89126e
This organization works to protect the Amazon and its indigenous people.
Amazon Conservation http://www.amazonconservation.org/getinvolved/index.html
This organization not only helps protect the Amazon, but it also informs you exactly where your money is going.