And now for some positive news! The rate of deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest is the lowest it’s been in 24 years!
(Rather than reposting an article from another source, I will now write a few articles of my own. Keep those comments coming!)
One of the environmental causes that I am the most passionate about is the destruction and deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest. In fact, when we were given free reign on the topic for our ENV 100 final paper, this is the one that I chose. While conducting my research, I realized just how scary the situation in the rainforest is–we immediately think of deforestation when we hear the words “Amazon Rainforest”, but it is difficult for most of us to realize the true scale and consequences of this destruction. Every second, 1.5 acres of rainforest are destroyed. To compare this to an image that may be more easily understood, a football field has a total area of about 9/10ths of an acre. That’s a little less than one-and-a-half football fields gone EVERY SECOND. Now do you see how terrifying this is?
Luckily, a new low in Amazonian destruction may be on the horizon. The Brazilian government reported on the 27th of November that the deforestation within the Amazon was the lowest it has been in 24 years! Using satellite images, the Brazilian Nation Institute for Space Research reported that 27% fewer square miles were destroyed this year in comparison to last year’s data (1,798 sq. miles this year as compared to 2,478 sq. miles last year). While these numbers are still staggeringly high when we think about the loss of habitat, biodiversity, and more, this drop in destruction is a very good thing.
However, deforestation is not the only problem that the Amazon has to worry about. As popularized by shows like “Jungle Gold” on the Discovery Channel, the Amazon plays host to massive quantities of gold ore, which is extracted using processes that not only rip apart huge areas of the land itself and fell thousands of trees, but also dumps thousands of gallons of toxic, mercury-contaminated waste water back into the river systems. The mercury is used to extract the gold from the junk dirt and ore surrounding it, and since the miners cannot afford to (or just don’t want to) dispose of the chemical correctly, they just pour it back into the water, where it can contaminate fish and other river organisms, and in turn poison the native people who eat the fish.
In order to stop the total destruction of the Amazon rainforest before it’s too late, we must focus our attention on the multitude of problems that the it is facing, and strive to continue this downward trend in deforestation!