Jordan Tolbert

The Amazon is a green, tropical paradise filled with countless animal and plant species that help our planet, including the organisms in it. 

The importance of the Amazon to the climate is immeasurable, but it also houses indigenous groups of people and financially benefits the countries it is included in. Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana are all areas that contain parts of this great rainforest. 

As you read this, the lungs of the earth are burning at an alarming rate. Why should we care about this? Well, the roughly two-million-square-mile area has always been a source of concern for countries beyond those surrounding it, mostly due to its importance to the environment and the wealth of resources inside it.

The health of the Amazon rainforest is directly correlated to the well-being of the earth as a whole. 

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the plants and trees in the Amazon Rainforest help to reduce pollution levels by converting large amounts of carbon dioxide produced by humans and cars into oxygen. 

The Amazon also contributes to the regional climate and surrounding bodies of water, not to mention it has countless indigenous plant species that have health benefits for humans.

According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, Brazil has had about 74,000 different fires this year alone, with 40,000 of them occurring in the Amazon itself. 

The fires go hand-in-hand with another huge threat, creating a devastating threat for the forest. Deforestation is a huge issue in the Amazon rainforest and, lately, it's growing worse. 

Deforestation has been made more prevalent by the new leader of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. According to the New York Times, more than 1,330 square miles of Amazon forest have been destroyed since Bolsonaro took office in January, a 39% increase compared to last year. 

Bolsonaro's lack of concern regarding the well-being of the Amazon has led to a lack of action with the current blazes annihilating the rainforest today. This absence of action has caused other national leaders to offer both help and criticism. Bolsonaro does not appreciate outside help but, without it, putting out the fires seems nearly impossible. 

President Trump even tweeted about the fires and said the U.S. would help if needed. 

“Just spoke with President @JairBolsonaro of Brazil. Our future Trade prospects are very exciting and our relationship is strong, perhaps stronger than ever before. I told him if the United States can help with the Amazon Rainforest fires, we stand ready to assist!”

Other countries want to help as well. According to NPR, world leaders pledged $22 million in an effort to end the fires at the G7 summit on Monday. The Amazon is a place that benefits the Earth as a whole, and saving the Amazon is nonnegotiable for many leaders. This proposed aid package from other countries made Bolsonaro angry, and he tweeted that outside countries treat Brazil "as if we were a colony or no man's land." 

It is up to Bolsonaro to decide whether or not to accept aid and make moves concerning this fire. 

The climate is at stake, and the Amazon Rainforest deserves to be saved because it is saving us every day, and has been since the beginning.

Jordan Tolbert is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @Jordanvtolbert

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