Amazon Deforestation

This article is part of our “blog series” — written by youth, for youth, by members of our very own VSBSC executive team. We hope you enjoy reading these as much as we did writing them and stay tuned for future posts!

By Grace Du

Once a 5.5 million square kilometer haven for 10% of the world’s known species, the Amazon has been reduced to a mere three-quarters of its original glory. The unchecked clear-cutting and burning will lead to irreversible ecological disaster unless the world intervenes. Why is the Amazon being destroyed? 

The answer is surprisingly simple: our love for meat. Initially, the deforestation only occurred so farmers could use the land to support themselves and their local community. However, in the second half of the 20th century, this destruction accelerated to accommodate the needs of the growing population. Hundreds of thousands of acres of rainforest were cut away to support large scale agriculture, mainly cattle farming. Since 1978, 750,000 square kilometers have been cleared to feed our desire for meat. 

Should this continue, by 2030, 27% of the Amazon will have perished to deforestation. Due to the large amounts of fires used to expedite the deforestation process, the tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide released will further worsen the greenhouse gas accumulation in our atmosphere and accelerate global warming. As previously mentioned, the Amazon Rainforest is home to 10% of the world’s known species, making it the most biodiverse region on the planet. The continued burning of the forest would transform a once thick, thriving forest into a savannah sparsely populated with trees and grasses. While some species will be able to adapt to this drastically different environment, it is likely that many of them will not be able to, and Earth will suffer a hefty blow to its biodiversity.

What can we do to help? 

  1. Make ethical, sustainable choices with your diet: Cutting out beef would be a good place to start. Cattle ranching accounts for 80% of the rainforest cleared in the Amazon.
  2. Support Indigenous populations: All of this is happening at the expense of Brazil’s indigenous livelihood. Support organisations such as Amazon Watch which provide funding and education to indigenous communities.
  3. Protect an acre of land: Reach out to organizations such as the Rainforest Action Network to look into protecting an acre of the Amazon.
  4. Bring the pressure: Sign petitions and contact your local representative to pressure them to invoke change. Corporations inflict the most damage to our environment; challenge them to make sustainable choices.

If we continue to ignore this crisis, the worsening climate crisis will soon turn into an emergency. The loss of the Amazon would completely throw off the delicate ecological balance in the world. Continue to educate yourself and others and take action. Together, we can prevent catastrophe.