Our lungs are on fire


Over 7,000 square miles of the Amazon was destroyed from the detrimental fires. (Zanchetta/Flickr).

Jo Samuels, Web Editor

The Amazon rainforest caught fire in the beginning of August 2019, devastating not only the dense and diverse rainforest, but also the community surrounding it, including the rest of the world. Fires are intentionally created annually by cattle ranchers and loggers who want to clear and reuse the land. As a result, this summer, the fires spiraled out of control killing an immense amount of wildlife and creating a “literal cemetery”. The Amazon is considered the lungs of our world and provides so much for us. Without these “lungs,” a vital piece in the world would be forever gone. So what are you going to do?

 53% of the world’s tree species are found in the Amazon. The rainforests trees absorb carbon dioxide and also produces twenty percent of the world’s oxygen. It is teeming with wildlife and plants. The absorption of CO2 helps stabilize the climate. Mrs. Goodwin, a social studies teacher at The Weber School, states, “This particular natural resource is responsible for consuming a lot of the carbon for us.” The rainforest also regulates the air and helps keep it clean. The rainforest, and the Amazon River that flows through, contributes water to the world. The fires have reduced moisture and have impacted rain patterns.

The basis of many medicines and pills grow naturally in the Amazon. There are 40,000 plant species found there. The next cure to a disease very well may be growing in the Amazon. For example, Wasai which is good for kidney health, is used to make water pills using the root of the tree. Lapacho, a plant that has anticancer properties is found in the Amazon and helps fight cancer and reduces pain for people undergoing chemotherapy. Quinine, a treatment for Malaria comes from Cinchona trees. This vast region provides so much for the world. The decline of air quality, reduction of oxygen, loss of biodiversity (2.5 million animal species), and lack of water supply has and will continue to have great and substantial effects on the world. Keeping the ecosystem healthy will keep the world and its people healthy.

If you know the Amazon is burning, you will need to do something to put out the fire. Supporting indiginous people, reducing wood and paper consumption, and eating ethnically are all steps you can take. Most importantly voting for someone who is devoted to climate change and the Amazon is also crucial. This is a global crisis. You can be part of the solution.