This year, nearly 73,000 fires have been recorded in the Brazilian rainforest. Satellite images spotted more than 9,500 new forest fires since Thursday alone, mostly in the Amazon basin, home to the world’s largest tropical forest and seen as vital to slowing the pace of global warming. This uptick in activity makes an 83 percent increase over the same period in 2018, with concerns growing over the government’s environmental policy.
How can you help?
One way to help is to sponsor an acre of the Amazon.
The Amazon is made up of 1.7 billion acres, and each one is vital to the ecosystems they support, as well as surrounding communities and the health of the planet as a whole.
By sponsoring an acre, you can support the groups who undertake invaluable work to keep the rainforest safe.
READ MORE: Amazon Rainforest fire LIVE updates: State of emergency declared
Amazon fire: Deforestation is a major contributing factor
Amazon fires: This year, nearly 73,000 fires have been recorded in the Brazilian rainforest
Rainforest Concern is one of these groups – you can sponsor an acre at their website. Donations start at £50.
The UK charity WWF also accepts donations at their website, or you can join the charity for a monthly amount of your choice – they suggest £5 per month as a minimum.
Rainforest Action Network is another good charity to donate to, with their hard-hitting campaigns affecting real change.
In 1985, RAN launched a nationwide boycott of Burger King, which was importing cheap beef from tropical rainforest countries.
Amazon fires: An estimated measure done by Express.co.uk shows approx 640 million acres have burned
Two years later, Burger King cancelled thirty-five million dollars worth of beef contracts and agreed to stop importing beef from the rainforest.
Another, simple. day-to-day thing you can try is to drastically reduce your paper and wood consumption.
Many people opt for paper over plastic as paper is recyclable – while this is true, mot paper comes from deforestation which is thought to play a major part in the current Amazon fires.
The news of the fires hit headlines this week as Brazil’s space research centre INPE reported 72,843 fires in the Amazon this year alone.
Amazon fires: NASA spotted the smoke from space
As a result, President Jair Bolsonaro sacked the head of INPE amid rows over its deforestation data, and has raised concerns over the government’s environmental policy.
Conservationists have blamed Mr Bolsonaro, saying he has encouraged loggers and farmers to clear the land – but he brushed off the data from INPE.
He said it was the “season of the queimada”, when farmers use fire to clear land and accused the public of blaming him for deforestation and now the fires.
He said: “I used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame.”
READ MORE: How big is Amazon rainforest? How much of the rainforest is left?
Amazon fires: This uptick in activity makes an 83 percent increase over the same period in 2018
Ricardo Mello, head of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Amazon Programme, said the fires were “a consequence of the increase in deforestation seen in recent figures”.
Mr Bolsonaro’s government is under increasing criticism for its environmental policy, which has seen a reversal of the work of former presidents to try reduce deforestation.
Under Bolsonaro, penalties for illegal deforestation have been slashed and confiscations of timber and convictions have fallen.
Last month, the president accused INPE’s director of lying about the scale of deforestation – reported at an 88 percent increase – and trying to undermine the government.
Amazon fires: Satellite images spotted more than 9,500 new forest fires since Thursday alone
The director of the agency later announced he was being sacked amid the row.
INPE has previously insisted that its data is 95 percent accurate, and its reliability has been defended by several scientific institutions, including the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.
Shocking satellite images from both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have shown the extent of the blazes from space.
Smoke, ash and carbon monoxide is spreading across Brazil and to South American countries beyond, triggering health concerns for residents.