Here's what you can do to help the burning, ravaged Amazon rainforest

James Pasley
  • Almost 73,000 fires have been recorded in the Amazon rainforest this year — nearly double 2018's total of about 40,000 fires. It's a record high.

  • The fires come from humans — it's the time of the year when farmers use fire to clear land — but hot, dry conditions mean fires are spreading, and President Jair Bolsonaro is actively not trying to help.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Amazon rainforest is on fire.

This year, between January and August, almost 73,000 fires have been recorded, which is nearly double 2018's total of nearly 40,000 fires. It's a record high. Since Thursday, almost 10,000 news fires have started.

One of the reasons for the massive increase in fires is human activity, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro does not care. Dismissing concerns about the amount of fires in the Amazon, he said, "I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame."

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He said it's just the time of the year when farmers use fire to clear land. Since taking power, Bolsonaro has also hampered what government agencies can do to protect the rainforest.

The fires have created a layer of smoke estimated to be 1.2 million square miles wide, and the loss of forest is devastating for mitigating global warming. The rainforest is meant to absorb carbon, not produce it.

And while it might seem overwhelming and devastating, and far removed from everyday life, there are things that can be done. Here are some ways you (and Logan Paul) can make an impact.

1. Educate yourself and others

You can learn more about the crisis from official sources, and educate friends and family on all the details. The more people know about how serious the crisis is, the more that can be done.

For those who can read Portuguese, there's Brazil's National Institute for Space Research, which uses satelite imagery and records the number of wildfires. Otherwise, InfoAmazonia has a map showing fires that are currently burning in Brazil. Another feature it offers is a map that lets you compare your location with the Amazon deforestation.

You can also read up on the issue from major news outlets covering developments with the fires, including, of course, Business Insider.

2. Reduce, reuse, recycle

It's also worth learning what can be done in your day-to-day life, which can have lasting effects on the rainforest — like reducing the amount of paper and wood you use.

A lot of paper comes from trees chopped down in the Amazon. Less demand, in theory, means less deforestation.

3. Donate to a charity

Six charities that work to help the Amazon rainforest have received at least three out of four stars from Charity Navigator, a nonprofit that rates charities on their accountability and financial management.

Here are links to their websites, listed in alphabetical order:

Amazon Conservation Association

Amazon Conservation Team

Amazon Watch

Rainforest Foundation US

Rainforest Trust

Rainforest Action Network

4. Volunteer

While it's probably not a good idea to volunteer to actually fight the fires, unless you're a trained firefighter, there are other ways to make a difference. Contact any of the charities listed in the previous slide and ask them what you can do.

These charities can, and do, make a difference.

In the late 1980s, Rainforest Action Network launched a campaign demanding that Burger King stop importing cheap beef from tropical rainforest areas, and the fast-food chain actually stopped — it canceled $35 million worth of beef contracts. More recently, the organization has targeted Halloween candy made from palm oil.

5. Make your voice heard

You can call, email, or write to your elected officials or the US State Department, and encourage them to act the way you would like them to, to raise this issue in their official roles.

The burning and deforestation of the Amazon rainforest will have lasting effects for the global climate. It might be in a different country, but members of Congress can still take action.

And while you wait to see their response, you can be vocal online. #PrayforAmazonia and #AmazonRainforest are trending hashtags on the issue.

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Wildfires are blazing through the Amazon rainforest in record numbers, burning through a tropical forest vital to countering climate change

DON'T MISS: The 'lungs of the planet' are in danger of reaching a tipping point that could turn the Amazon rainforest into a savannah

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