The Amazon Burns and Deforestation is to Blame

A devastating fire in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, caused by illegal deforestation for animal agriculture, has triggered a state of emergency in the country, with people and animals suffering from the extreme conditions.

THE DETAILS: The fire, which can be seen from space and now also threatens neighboring countries, was spurred on by the region’s dry season and ongoing drought, but ultimately caused by illegal deforestation in the Amazon. Cattle farmers are thought to have started the fires in order to create land for cattle breeding and the cultivation of animal feed.

THE BACKGROUND: Brazil’s government has long been the subject of massive criticism, denying the existence of a climate crisis and regarded as an ally of the country’s agricultural industry. The destruction of the Amazon rainforest has accelerated sharply since the current government took the helm and this summer alone almost four times more forest area has been cleared than in previous years. Experts count over 72,000 significant fires this year alone – a new record for the area.

INTENSE DESTRUCTION: The increasing worldwide demand for grazing land for cattle breeding and the cultivation of soy and grain for intensive livestock farming is leading to the clearing and loss of the valuable Amazon rainforest. This development is being driven primarily by the insatiable desire for meat by Western nations. Between 2004 and 2013, an average rainforest area the size of three football fields disappeared every minute in the Amazon. This year, experts expect illegal deforestation to increase by 45% compared to last year.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING: “In the previous years [wildfires] were very much related to the lack of rain, but it has been quite moist this year. That leads us to think that this is deforestation-driven fire. It’s a tragedy, a crime against the planet, and a crime against humankind.” ecologist Adriane Muelbert tells National Geographic.

WHAT THIS MEANS: The progressive loss of the Amazon rainforest has far-reaching consequences for humans. It stores carbon and produces around one-fifth of the world’s oxygen by the photosynthesis of algae and plants. It’s also home to numerous indigenous peoples. In addition, the Amazon rainforest is home to an overwhelming diversity of species. According to studies, there are more than 5,000 animal and 40,000 plant species. All of them – humans, animals and plants – are now threatened.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: The continued and careless destruction of this vitally important ecosystem is one of the most tragic events in modern history. Not only is this man-made disaster displacing thousands of people and animals, it’s also damaging our planet, potentially beyond repair. At this time, the best thing you can do is share this post and information regarding the consequences of animal agriculture, and pay attention to avenues where you can make a difference, like petitions, protests and when needed, calls to government officials. And if you haven’t already, please consider a plant-based lifestyle. Spending your money on plant-based foods is the quickest way to ensure companies and corporations realize that the cruelty and devastation caused by animal agriculture is an industry of the past.