2023 Amazon Inferno: 26.4 Million Acres Ablaze, Climate Crisis to Blame?

March 26, 2024
2 mins read
Amazon ablaze in 2023

Nature has got many wonders. One of the miracles of nature is a rain forest. Rainforest is characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy, moisture-dependent vegetation, the presence of epiphytes and lianas, and the abundance of wildfire. The Amazon is one such rainforest. But if a wildfire erupts and spreads in such a rainforest due to climate change, it causes protests.

A staggering 23.3 million acres (9.4 million hectares) of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest burned from January to November 2023. An area comparable to the US state of Indiana is affected. The fires in the Amazon are often started intentionally. Many of those starting fires are illegal. Land grabbers are emboldened by the anti-environment policies of the Brazilian government led by Lula da Silva. Forests are burnt to clear land for other uses, such as cattle ranching, growing animal feed, or illegal logging.

This process of destroying trees to clear forested land is known as deforestation. Deforestation and fires are linked. They are intertwined threats to the lives and livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities in the Amazon, to the Biodiversity of the forest, and to the global climate. The widespread forest burnings associated with deforestation are carried out by those who put short-term profits over people and the planet.

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While Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities have understood responsible uses of fire in land stewardship for generations, the fires generating global headlines in the Amazon are often ignited by those who do not care about the long-term health of the ecosystem or the communities who live there. If emissions and deforestation trends of the last decade continue, the Brazilian Amazon will lose another 59 million hectares (an area larger than France) by 2050.

It will produce greenhouse gas emissions 5 times higher than Brazil’s limit to meet global climate goals.

That is why there are protests against this irresponsible deforestation by vested interests in Brazil. The protesters demand the following measures: Reverse the dismantling of environmental law enforcement that has occurred in recent years. Use the effective tools it already has for forest protection. Data indicates that legally designated “Protected Areas” are an effective tool to prevent deforestation in Brazil.

Recognize Indigenous Lands as well as the rights of traditional communities and quilombola territories. In addition to these clear steps to be taken within Brazil, altogether around the world, we must fix our broken food system if we hope to end Amazon fires and deforestation. According to Economic Times, the poverty in the Amazon needs to be addressed in order to protect the rainforest.

The combination of poverty and limited economic opportunities has led to deforestation as people clear more forest for agriculture. To combat this, experts suggest finding alternative livelihoods for people living in the region, such as sustainable harvesting of native products such as Acari and cacao. In Kerala, India too, there were spontaneous protests to save the Silent Valley, a rainforest, when there was an attempt to disturb the ecological balance there.

In short, this vast untamed wilderness of Amazon in Brazil is under increasing threat from huge-scale farming and ranching, infrastructure and urban development, unsustainable logging, mining, and climate change. Immediate measures are to be taken to maintain an ecological balance in the rainforest of Amazon in Brazil.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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