SAN DIEGO — The Amazon rainforest — the largest rainforest in the world — is burning at a record rate, according to experts, and leaving communities across the globe feeling the effects.
It’s unclear exactly how many acres have been affected, but there are reportedly about 2,500 fires burning currently.
“I think it’s very natural for people to feel like what’s happening in the Amazon rainforest miles and miles away can’t have a direct impact on themselves their communities their children, but the reality is very different,” says Dana Kaasik from Nature and Culture International.
The Amazon rainforest contains more than 30% of the world’s plant and animal species, it’s been home to the origins of cancer treatments, and the trees produce about 20% of the world’s oxygen.
“The rising seas that we see in the San Diego shoreline part of that is being worsened by the deforestation taking place in the Amazon, so there are real severe consequences even to us here in San Diego,” Kaasik said.
In Brazil, the biggest reasons for clearing parts of the forest include making way for cattle ranching, soy production and logging.
Nature and Culture International, a local conservation group in San Diego, is one of many doing its part to protect vulnerable ecosystems primarily in South America. They work with locals living directly in the communities affected.
“We help get protection status to their land so that they are protected legally from deforestation from mining from other threats to their home,” Kaasik said.
The group has already helped to conserve 20 million acres of land.
According to a Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, there have already been nearly 75,000 fires this year alone, which is nearly double the total fires in 2018.