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So Why Is the Amazon On Fire?

Say Contributor

The Amazon rainforest has been called the planet’s lungs. At the moment, those lungs aren’t doing so well. Forest Fires According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, there have been 74,155 fires in Brazil so far this year, most of them in the rainforest. Half of them have started this month. These fires are no accident, as most of them have been set by loggers and ranchers, who have been burning down the forest in order to clear land for cattle. In July, the deforestation rate was about the area the size of Manhattan. Each week. Then it got bigger. Currently, cities such as São Paulo are covered in smoke. Prayers For Rain The burning of the Amazon is being seen as an environmental crisis, as the rainforest produces about 20% of the world’s oxygen, and is key in the fight to keep climate change and the heating of the planet from increasing. Brazil’s far right President Jair Bolsonaro doesn’t seem to bothered about the problem, as he’s gutted his country’s environmental agencies and is seen by many critics as being completely unconcerned about the environment and completely in the pocket of land developers, and is allowing, if not encouraging, this private land grab to go forth uninterrupted. Beefing Brazil is one of the world’s biggest beef importers, providing about 20% of the world’s supply. In response to the fires and Bolsonaro's nonplussed reaction, Finland’s finance minister called for the European Union to "urgently review the possibility of banning Brazilian beef imports" over the Amazon fires,” and Ireland is considering blocking a recent trade deal with the EU if Bolsonaro continues to take no action. Many environmental groups are urging people to help the rainforest by eating less meat. -Michael Tedder Photo: Bruno Kelly/REUTERS