Help save the Amazon Rainforest

Want to stop the fires in the Amazon Rainforest? Stop eating so much beef! More on that later. 

According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, there have been more than 90,000 fires throughout the Amazon Rainforest in 2019, but why does this matter? What should we do? Well, to be able to answer these questions we need to step back and ask why there have been so many wildfires this year in the first place. 

Ever since Jair Bolsonaro became Brazil’s president in 2018, rules on deforestation of the Amazon have been relaxed. The New York Times states Bolsonaro “prioritizes economic development over environmental protection.” People are clearing land to make room for agriculture and logging. Some are even setting fires to retaliate against the protesters against these fires in the Amazon.

Now, back to why does this matter: the Amazon Rainforest, an amazing source of biodiversity, is home to ten percent of the world’s known species. The Global Issues website explains that biodiversity gives the world, “food, medicine, wood products, education, and diversity in genes.” In addition, the Amazon provides humans with a fifth of the earth’s supply of fresh water. 

What could we do here in Castro Valley do to help prevent fires in the Amazon Rainforest? 

We should use less paper. As I said before, many fires have been started to collect lumber to make into paper. Think about all of the paper we use just at CVHS! Don’t print when you don’t have to! 

Back to reducing your meat consumption: you don’t have to become a vegetarian, but if we ate less beef, we could reduce the amount of fires started in the Amazon. Many of the fires are created to clear land for cattle to graze. According to Public Radio International, “Cattle ranching accounts for 80 percent of the forest cleared in the Amazon,” and Brazilian beef is exported all over the world. In fact, Bolsonaro seems to care more about the cattle business than the rainforest. By decreasing your meat consumption, you will not be supporting the people that are setting these fires in the Amazon.

 When you turn 18, vote for candidates who care about the environment. American politicians can steer our tax dollars to organizations that help protect the Amazon. American politicians who are pro-environment can not only change American laws, but can influence the world, so use your voice and when you turn 18, use your vote to help prevent fires in the Amazon Rainforest.