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New York Times Fires rage in the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho in Brazil on August 26. Image Credit: NYT

  • Readers share their opinion on the Amazon forest fire and the effort governments can take to ensure such a disaster does not happen.
  • Three readers share their opinion on the same. 

The Amazon forest was on fire and help came late

By Disha Baldawa

It is no doubt that everyone has heard about the Amazon forest fire by now. In this modern world, where information can be literally passed around in seconds, with the help of technology, it is absolutely shocking to find out that the fire started weeks ago and no one was aware of it till recently.

Wildfires often occur in the dry season in Brazil but they are also deliberately started in efforts to illegally deforest land for cattle ranching. Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in most countries, accounting for 80 per cent of current deforestation rates.

The skies of the city of São Paulo were a dark grey, even in the day, and looked like the aftermath of an apocalypse at three in the afternoon. There was a report of a ‘blackout’ because of the smoke from the fires. The forest is 3,200 kilometres away from the city. It is absolutely terrifying to know that the homes of 390 billion trees, known as “the lungs of the planet”, a habitat to millions of indigenous people and several species of birds and animals, has experienced so much destruction in this past year.

In July, a part of the forest, as large as the city of London was found completely barren. According to activists, President Bolsonaro had promoted tree-clearing activities.

There were more than 74,000 wildfires this year alone in Amazon, which is an 84 per cent increase from the previous year. About 640 million acres of rainforest has been affected. The damaged land now cannot be used for cultivation.

The carbon emissions released from these fires are equivalent to 228 megatons this year. Apart from carbon dioxide, emission of carbon monoxide is also taking place simultaneously, which is extremely dangerous when inhaled. It replaces oxygen in your body which can lead to tissue damage or worse, asphyxiation and death.

Other countries surrounding Brazil have also been affected by these fires. Venezuela has had more than 26,000 wildfires this year. France’s President, Emmanuel Macron, tweeted: “Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20 per cent of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. It is an international crisis.”

It is infuriating that people did absolutely nothing to help, while our bio-diversity was being swallowed. Finally, Brazil has agreed to accept the aid from the G7. The most we can do from thousands of miles away is reduce our paper and wood consumption. Reduce, reuse and recycle because remember this isn’t climate change anymore, this is climate crisis.

- The reader is a student based in Dubai.

Iceland glacier Okjökull
This combination created on August 09, 2019 shows a NASA handout image taken on September 7, 1986 showing the Okjökull glacier atop the Ok Volcano in Iceland (top). And a NASA handout image taken on August 1, 2019 showing the top of the Ok Volcano where the Okjokull glacier has melted away throughout the 20th century and was declared dead in 2014. Iceland is planning to mark the passing of Okjokull, its first glacier lost to climate change which threatens some 400 others on the subarctic island. Image Credit: AFP/Nasa

Our planet is in crisis

By Mohammad Faris

The melting of a glacier in Iceland and most recently, the burning of the Amazon forest has made climate change more real. São Paulo was covered in smoke and the sky was a dull grey in broad daylight, thanks to the smoke from the nearby fire.

Further, uneven rainfall causing floods and droughts in other parts of the world are just a few outcomes of climate change. If these devastating events aren’t enough warnings from Nature for us to take action on climate change and find a solution that is effective and reduces global warming, we are nearing to a catastrophe.

Thousands of people are food and water insecure on the Asian Subcontinent. Water bodies are drying up and negative trends are increasing because of climate change. Not to mention the effect on wildlife. Our planet is affected by a calamity, which needs to be addressed and combated at its earliest. Climate change is a cause that is common for every country and it is something that one cannot hide from. Its effects and outcomes will eventually affect everyone in the worst possible scenario. As global citizens we must conserve at a grass root level, start from our houses and move on into society and country.

Every drop of water we save counts, every plastic bottle we recycle counts. Avoid using items that negatively affect our environment. Take the effort to look after your planet, your one step makes a huge difference. Every country must adopt measures that combat climate change at the earliest as we do not have the luxury of time. We need fast and efficient methods to reduce global warming and its dire consequences.

The United Nations recently gathered at the third round of negotiations for the future of our oceans and marine life. A solid solution is the need for the hour. It is high time we reduce carbon emissions and make sure industries don’t exploit the environment by polluting the air and dumping wastes into our oceans. Nature is suffering. Their natural habitats of animals and marine life are facing extinction. Hence, it is our prerogative as global citizens to protect the one planet we have from a catastrophe we created. As Michael Jackson’s song goes: “Heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race.”

- The reader is a resident of Dubai.

WKR 190830 Amazon basin-1567176111677
TOPSHOT - Handout aerial released by Greenpeace showing smoke billowing from forest fires in the municipality of Candeias do Jamari, close to Porto Velho in Rondonia State, in the Amazon basin in northwestern Brazil, on August 24, 2019. Brazil on August 25 deployed two Hercules C-130 aircraft to douse fires devouring parts of the Amazon rainforest. The latest official figures show 79,513 forest fires have been recorded in the country this year, the highest number of any year since 2013. More than half of those are in the massive Amazon basin. Experts say increased land clearing during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has aggravated the problem this year. - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / GREENPEACE / VICTOR MORIYAMA" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - NO RESALE - NO ARCHIVE - IMAGE AVAILABLE FOR PUBLICATION AND DOWNLOAD UNTIL 09.09.2019 - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / AFP / GREENPEACE / GREENPEACE / GREENPEACE / GREENPEACE / GREENPEACE / Image Credit: AFP

Protect the planet before it is too late

By Asmi Choudhary

It’s amazing to know that how just by disposing plastic or cans in the recycling bin can save 7.7 billion lives and such a shame to know that no one does it.

Every day we are stepping a little closer towards a fate none of us want. About 25 years ago people could be excused for not knowing or doing much about climate change, but today we have no excuse. All those small steps would make a big difference in the end, because nobody on this planet is going to walk away unharmed, by the impacts of climate change. Maybe if we put a price on carbon in the markets, and a price on denial in politics; would we know the worth of free oxygen.

Why can’t we just take our minds of knowing how a celebrity would celebrate their birthday, and just focus on saving our planet? We are less than 17 months away from the irreversible effects of climate change. The greatest fear to our planet is thinking that someone else will save it.

It takes less than a few minutes to throw your trash in the correct recycling bin and it takes more than a hundred years for that trash to decompose if you leave it just anywhere.

Iceland just bid farewell to one of its glaciers and the Amazon rainforest fire has contributed to an increase in carbon emissions. What have we done about this? Post about it on Instagram and twitter? We should panic and act as if our planet is on fire, because it is. It isn’t enough to talk about climate change. We must work towards it.

- The reader is a student based in Dubai.