It’s on fire. But here are 5 easy ways to help the Amazon right now.
By Chere Di Boscio
I’m not gonna lie: sometimes it feels like the world really sucks.
A Google whistleblower has recently revealed that the search engine giant is not only spying on us, but is manipulating search results to hide important information on stuff like alternative and natural health, and information about dirty governmental activities.
And speaking of which – the corrupt government currently running Brazil has encouraged cattle and soy farmers to destroy the Amazon so they can grow animal feed and raise cows on the ‘lungs of the Earth’.
Since President Bolsonaro’s rise to office, deforestation in Brazil has increased by a staggering 84%. Riding a wave of power supported by the country’s ruralistas, (countryside dwellers) Brazil’s current government is aiming to strengthen the agricultural sector by creating more space for growing soy and raising cattle – even if that means cutting down the rainforest to do so. Weak law enforcement allows the ruralistas to expand their activities into previously protected areas.
Consequently, in a worryingly short period of time, Bolsonaro’s presidency has become a threat to the environment, indigenous groups and human rights. Oh, and the Amazon is on fire, and has been for weeks.
By merging the Ministry of Agriculture with the Ministry of Environment, Bolsonaro has emboldened both the destructive agricultural and mining sectors. This puts the demarcation of protected and indigenous land under governmental control, instead of under the protection of independent environmental agencies.
“The federal government is trying to annihilate the Brazilian Forest Code”, Severino Ribeiro, director of PACTO, said here. “Through a Provisional Measure [that will] amnesty deforestation”, previously protected rural areas will be left unprotected, which “could cause the deforestation of an area the size of Portugal”.
These fires currently raging in the Amazon are not at all natural – rain forests are so humid, you’d need an awful lot of petrol to keep a fire burning here for so long.
It’s very frustrating to know that our fellow human beings are capable of such horrors, just for money. But most of us aren’t that evil, and are wondering what we can do to save the Amazon.
5 Easy Ways To Help The Amazon Right Now
1. Stop eating beef and soy based products
That’s it. Full stop. These are the two main agricultural activities that Bolsonaro aims to support in the Amazon. It’s thanks to these two farming activities that the Amazon is on fire right now. That beef and soy is exported all around the world (and most of the soy is used for cattle and other animal feed). So, if you eat meat or consume soy, you are essentially contributing to the destruction of the Amazon by creating more demand for those profitable products.
Oh, and the same goes for exotic hardwoods from the rainforest, like teak, ebony and mahogany. AVOID, always!
2. Stop using Google and use Ecosia instead
Google is evil, there’s no two ways about it. They’re manipulative, they constitute a monopoly on information, which they willfully and deliberately censor with impunity to hide search results that include information on natural health – and the Amazon is ‘nature’s pharmacy’, packed with medicinal plants. If the likes of Google has their way, we’ll never know what they can do for us.
Ecosia, on the other hand, plants a tree for every single search done on their fair, private search engine. Ecosia’s work in Brazil focuses on reforesting the Atlantic Forest in that country. Not the Amazon, but still – they are greening our planet and curbing climate change with their work.
If you’re not already using Ecosia on your computer, it’s easy to do. Just switch your browser by following these instructions. You can also carry Ecosia in your pocket by downloading their app and start reforesting the planet!
Using Ecosia, you don’t need to spend a penny to help reforest the planet. But if you’d like to support other reforesting efforts, try these NGOs, in point 4.
3. Eat more Brazil nuts
Guess what? Brazil nuts are so-named because they can only really grow under healthy, pristine conditions in the rainforest. Farmers and commercial organizations haven’t really successfully been able to grow the trees in Brazil nut plantations, so by buying these nuts, you’re supporting healthy rainforests. Farmers can’t chop down the surrounding trees to more easily get to the Brazil nut trees (which are typically found 1-2 per hectare), because the trees won’t produce as well as if they were in a healthy, primary forests.
Moreover, there are certain species of bees that are well-designed to pollinate the flowers of the brazil nut trees and they are much more prevalent in healthy primary forests. Purchasing Brazil nuts keeps the farmers employed and also their employees employed and puts a value on the forest.
To preserve forests there must be a greater economic incentive to keep forests intact. If ruralistas aren’t making money from it, they’re happy to usher in mining, logging and hunting to the Amazon so they can profit from it, too. But if we can help farmers can make a living keeping the forest as is, then they will have less incentive to allow it to be cut it down.
4. Support NGOs like this
It’s hard to know which NGOs to support. A lot of them, like the WWF, spend loads of money on marketing, and paying their CEOs six figure salaries. But others, like Amazon Watch or the Nature Conservancy, are working hard to reforest the Amazon, while the Amazon Conservation Team is more focused on saving the indigenous people of the rainforest. Another good charity to support is Jungle Keepers, who work with miners, loggers and farmers to ensure their operations are sustainable; they take no money for a Board of Directors – instead, it all goes to their cause.
Such organisations are also strongly lobbying against the likes of Bolsonaro and his government, as well as against mining and logging companies. They deserve our support.
5. Destroy Bolsonaro’s reputation on social media
Most non-Latinos may not even know who Bolsonaro is. But this man is a nasty piece of work who is hell-bent on destroying Brazil’s environment.
The plan works like this: there are many poor, illiterate people in Brazil. He promises them more money by allowing them to burn down the rainforest and farm it. They gain loads of cash for a few years, he gets more votes, and more power. The only problem? The soil of the rainforest isn’t made to sustain agriculture. Eventually, it will turn to sand when all the nutrients leave it, and these poor farmers will once again be poor. But the President will have left office long before that happens….
Bolsonaro still has quite a few years left in office, but we can hopefully change what Brazilians think about him by bombarding him with Tweets here or on Facebook here. And if you can do it in Portuguese, all the better!
DEMAND on social media that he use cloud seeding to make it rain NOW. This should be very possible over the Amazon, given the amount of moisture in the air. Why isn’t he using all his powers to make these fires stop?
Do you have any other ideas on what we can do to help the Amazon? Let us know in the comments, below!