The Deforestation of the Amazon

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The Amazon, often called the lungs of the earth, is the largest rainforest in the world. It is home to over 3 million species – 10 percent of all known plant and animal species. It is fundamental to the health of our planet as it is the most important carbon store on earth.

60 percent of the 2.6 million square miles that make up the Amazon Rainforest belong to Brazil, which is responsible for half of its deforestation. Twenty percent of the forest has already been destroyed forever: over the past 40 years, Brazil has deforested an area about the size of the state of California to make way for soybean plantations or livestock farming. If things continue as they are, 27% of the Amazon will be irretrievably lost.

The consequences are grave. Deforestation does not only lead to extreme forest fires that threaten flora, fauna and indigenous communities. It also contributes to the rapid rise in global temperature.

Only in 2019 the equivalent of the area of Puerto Rico, an entire country, was completely cleared. And just recently researchers reported that in June this year 400 square miles of the Amazon were destroyed. This can be compared to the destruction of an area of the city of Dallas, Texas, in just one month.

The extreme right-wing president of Brazil is very much in favour of the deforestation process, as he is interested in increasing agricultural production. Under his leadership, the destruction will continue while the world watches in silence.

On June 16, Brazil suspended the use of fire in the Amazon and Pantanal for the next 120 days, yielding to the immense pressure of the global economy. After 32 global financial institutions had threatened the country to end investments in Brazil’s economy if deforestation was not stopped, 38 transnational companies demanded the Brazilian government to crack down on crimes such as illegal logging of the Amazon and other Brazilian biomes.

This is a small step into the right direction, but we – all together – need to work on saving our forests, our seas and our nature. Let’s keep our environment clean and contribute to a healthy planet!