The fires in the Amazon have been spreading throughout many regions in South America, including other parts of Brazil and Bolivia. Millions of people around the world have gone to social media to bring attention to these dangerous fires and urge others to take action.
In 2019, the Amazon and Cerrado region of Brazil had the highest area burned from January to July. The greatest area burned this year was in Cerrado in the month of July at 12,500 km² (4979.9456 mi2). In total, 57,827 km2 (22327.13 mi2) of Brazil’s forests have been burned in 2019 alone.
Interestingly enough, more attention has been received through social media outlets than mainstream news outlets. Some internet activists are advocating for anti-meat movements, eco-friendly daily living, and reduction of fossil fuel usage; all of those who want to stop the fires in Brazil from spreading.
In researching the Amazon fires, I saw loads of information from independent social media pages and minimal from some well-known news streams. Now, there’s no telling why that is exactly, but I will delve more into social media's impact just a bit later.
The important thing to know is that thousands of kilometers of forested areas have been burned in a series of uncontrolled fires despite local and national efforts to stop the fires from spreading into other, larger forested areas.
The Amazon Basin’s microclimate is so sensitive that any change in its nature will greatly affect how life continues. Its current condition is where we see and begin to understand the impact that these fires can have on an entire forested region.
Due to the low humidity in the dry seasons, rainfall is limited and vegetation is dry. So with no rain and endless fuel, the fires threaten the balance of life in the Amazon.
According to Euronews, burning techniques are used as a normal part of agricultural control and “cleaning.” Another important factor in this discussion is illegal deforestation which has increasingly become an issue regardless of policies and enforcements against it. Although there is no confirmation from where the fires begin, any type of fire or burning is illegal, especially in this time of year (June-August) due to the increased chance of fire spreading.
In the PBS series, “Earth’s Natural Wonders” (streaming on Netflix) the fires of the Amazon are featured in the first episode titled, “Surviving The Extreme.” In this episode, the focus is on humans living in ever-changing environments and their ability to eat, grow and carry on daily living.
Edimar Dos Santos Abreu, chief of the Alianca fire brigade, and his eight firefighters are in charge of managing the fires in the Moto Grosso region of west Brazil.
According to the docuseries, most of the fires in this region are “caused by farmers clearing land” and because of changing climate conditions, these fires can rage out of control.
One of the biggest concerns of the Alianca fire brigade is the potential spread of fire into the Xingu National Forest, wherein lie thousands of miles of virgin rainforest.
Dos Santos Abreu works closely with one of the 14 indigenous groups that live in the forest known as the Kamaiura, whose entire existence is threatened by the fires.
The Kamaiura depend on the forest to provide materials for housing, food and protection. The fires threaten to take all that away from them. With the help of the fire brigade, the Kamaiura people are learning how to fight against the fires (with the proper tools) alongside Dos Santos Abreu and his team.
This is such an important example as to why change is imperative for any human at any stage in life.
Whether it comes from stopping illegal deforestation, implementing harsher agricultural restrictions, or changing cultural traditions, the change will set forth a chance for survival and prosperity.
Another very interesting thing I found in researching the fires was the records of previous fire seasons in Brazil from 2002-2019. The chart is divided up into regions and gives informative data on burned areas per biome (region) per year. What really blows me away is that 2019 is not a record-breaking year for the fires in Brazil. So why is there such a large push for awareness on social media now?
Part of the mass attention on social media comes from the fact that we live in an age where vast amounts of information are available at our fingertips. Once word spread about the fires, people from all over wanted to find out why this was happening. (This is great for awareness).
With personal platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, personal blogs, etc., activists of all kinds can voice their concerns about the fires in the Amazon. Plus, it is a great way to bring attention to whatever cause they believe is right and set forth that necessary change.
In whatever case, the mass attention received by the Internet is a push in the right direction for assistance and change in the Amazon.
If anyone is to make a difference, the problem has to be addressed directly. When advocating for help in the Amazon, the concern for this region, the people and animals living within and nearby should be the focal point for all the current mass attention.
Rather than using self-motivated reasoning for change, the desire for change should be for the greater good, and in this case, change and justice for the life in the Amazon Region.
Whether the fires come from the effects of careless deforestation, agriculture purposes, regional weather, climate change, or any other potential cause, the main take-away from this is to understand that in order to continue living and prospering together, humans must always be willing to adapt, change and evolve to their surroundings.