The world’s biggest tropical rainforest is on fire – with the largest ever in the Amazon since 2010. Scientists have warned that it can leave an impact in our fight against climate change. The National Institute for Space Research confirmed that in Brazil alone, an increase of 85% of fires was visible from space over a year, making it to about seventy-two thousand fires. It’s crazy to think that more than half of these fires only happened in the Amazon.
The Guardian in an article with stunning photographs capturing the full horror of the situation makes the point that the land is being grazed for further meat production. Brazil has decreed the situation to be an emergency and no wonder. The Amazon itself produces 20% of the world’s oxygen.
The National Institute for Space Research stated that one and a half football fields worth of trees are being burned down every single minute. That’s about five football fields by the time you finish reading this. Smoke at alarming rates blacked out the skies of Sao Paolo during day time nearly 3,000 km away.
Pollutants released by fire into the atmosphere reach neighbour countries – including Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay. The fire threatens an ecosystem where the largest collection of flora and fauna exists – as one in ten animal species live in the Amazon. Or shall we say lived? Many of these species are already endangered and their extinction could mean a drastic change to the world we know.
Celebrities spreading awareness
After reaching mainstream media – celebrities too decided to spread awareness. Khloe Kardashian demanded change from her 97 million followers.
“Try to stop eating beef completely if possible and try to generally have a more plant-based diet (this is the biggest reason why the Amazon rainforest is now on fire as they are burning down the rainforest to grow grains to feed cattle (beef),” said the post written by @plantyou and shared by Kardashian.
She encouraged people to adopt a plant-based lifestyle while sharing the link between Amazon and beef consumption.
Vegan footballer Chris Smalling also shared his concern about the Amazon and what’s causing its deforestation – blaming cattle ranching as one of the main issues.
Indeed, that alone was enough reason to convince restaurateur Eddie Huang – who vowed on Instagram to stop partaking in environmentally destructive practices – to jump on the vegan bandwagon. Watching the Amazon on fire was enough to make him go vegan.
Going vegan does indeed make environmental sense. It takes 20 times less to feed vegans than meat-eaters. The fact that 90 per cent of land taken from the Amazon since 1970 was used for grazing livestock is further proof that the more vegans the world has, the safer our Gaia eco-system will be. Needless to say, trees store greenhouse gases while giving out oxygen. We simply co-exist with the natural world.
What’s the best way to tackle this problem? It is hard to argue against the notion that the best solution is simply to go vegan. Plant-based diets are the kindest to Earth and would drop global farmland by three quarters.
A social media post put this situation into an uncomfortable context. If in some bizarre parallel universe trees gave out wifi signals, rather than oxygen, we would no doubt as a society go the extra mile to ensure that we preserving our trees as much as possible. We would be driven to protect our precious ability to communicate with one another. That is a sad indictment of our priorities.