Fires in the Amazon Rainforest have gotten a lot of media coverage over the past several weeks. Some amount of forest fires are normal, but there was an 84% increase from this time in 2018, and the increase seems to be largely human driven. The issues feeding into the Amazon Rainforest fires are complicated, but there are still actions you can take to help.
One easy action is to donate to a conservation organization such as The Rainforest Action Network or The Rainforest Trust. If you are short on cash, there are also petitions you can sign onto to investigate the cause of the burns and hold them accountable.
Eat Chicken Instead of Beef
We’ve touched on this one before – not only are other meats more sustainable than beef, (beef production emits five times more greenhouse gases than other meats like chicken.) It also takes twenty eight times more land. A leading cause of the deforestation that feeds into these fires is clearing land to raise cattle.
Watch Your Paper Products
Another driver of deforestation is logging for paper products. Of course, we’ve all heard to “reduce, reuse, recycle,” but for those things that you can’t reuse, first check to see if it’s made from recycled materials. This helps drive the demand for recycled, rather than virgin, paper. If that’s not possible, check for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or Rainforest Alliance Certification on products to make sure they were ethically and sustainable produced.
Why We Need the Rainforests
Rainforests are a critical resource; they produce 20% of Earth’s oxygen, and have historically been an important sink for greenhouse gases. However, due to deforestation and a “thinning” of the forests, tropical forests have actually become a source of carbon rather than a sink. The good news is that this is reversible, and the first step to restoring and protecting the rainforests is awareness.
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