There’s a reason the Amazon rainforest is often dubbed the lungs of our earth. It produces a whopping 20% of our oxygen and stores a substantial amount of carbon. With the threat of climate change looming over us, it’s especially alarming to discover the Amazon has been battling a series of ravaging fires over the past three weeks.
The Amazon rarely sees natural wild fires. Reportedly, a majority of these fires were lit intentionally to clear land slated for agricultural development. But regardless of their cause, the impacts could be devastating if nothing is done. While personally heading down to Amazonia and fighting the flames is out of the question for many of us, there is still a lot we can do to do our part.
- Reduce or refuse beef and dairy products. A large sum of deforestation is driven by the need for more space to raise cattle. Many fast-food restaurants in the US use this meat for their burgers. If the beef you buy at the store doesn’t state a country of origin, it’s best to avoid that too. If you want to go all in and cut meat out completely, here’s a helpful guide.
- Protect an acre of land through the Rainforest Action Network. RAN is dedicated to “preserving forests, protecting the climate and upholds human rights by challenging corporate power and systemic injustice”. Your donation helps communities around the world fight deforestation.
- Help purchase land in the rainforest. For the last 30 years, Rainforest Trust has fought to save threatened rainforests and endangered wildlife. They hope to acquire 50 million acres of land by 2020.
- Say no to palm oil. This is another major industry profiting off deforestation. It’s often associated with sweets but this oil can also be found in products such as shampoo and pizza dough. Here’s a list of items to check for palm oil.
- Ditch Google and start using Ecosia. This search engine plants a tree every 45 searches you run.
- Make a donation to save wildlife indigenous to rainforests. WWF is the world’s leading independent conservation organization. A donation to them goes towards protecting threatened animals and their habitats.
- Make carbon-conscious choices. Carpool, bike or walk when you can.
- Get involved in your community. See if your city has a group of citizen climate activists working to engage your local government. If there’s not a group in place and you’re feeling ambitious, try to put one together yourself!
- Don’t ever stop holding out hope for this world. There are so many people out there who care about saving our planet. Yes, there’s still a lot of work to do. And this fight is far from over. But our collective consciousness is shifting towards a greener future. We can’t stop our pursuit of it now.