Bushfires, deforestation and climate change are some of the main dangers facing the Amazon rainforest today. Year after year, activists raise their voices to denounce the serious damage that the Amazon is facing today. The Amazon forest is one of the largest rainforests on our planet, that’s why it is also called “ the lungs of the world”. Furthermore, it is also the ancestral home of million indigenous people, like the Nacion community in Ecuador.
Deforestation: a critical threat to the Amazon
Many of the indigenous inhabitants of the Amazon still carry out traditional activities and ceremonie. The land is part of their culture and lifestyle. Unfortunately, the Amazon is facing many dangers today. Projects that serve the “national interest” form a major threat to the Amazon. The building of infrastructure, hydropower projects, the extraction of it’s natural resources like timber, minerals or hydrocarbons and the expansion of agricultural lands for coffee, cocoa, palm oil and soya put an increasing pressure on the rainforest.
The described activities could lead to unprecedented deforestation, as well as land-use changes that threaten the future of the basin’s biodiversity and the people and species who have lived in harmony for centuries. Some estimates predict that forests could be reduced by half over the next 25 years. In addition to the severe impacts on nature, deforestation will bring suffering to the indigenous communities. They depend on the forest for their food and water supply.
WHY IS THE RAINFOREST SO IMPORTANT?
Well first of all, trees release oxygen and let us breathe. One person “ uses up” around seven to eight trees per year. So that’s why the Amazon is called “ the lungs of the world” . But what if the rainforest is cut down? Simple guess, lesser trees so a decline in the release of oxygen. Apart from the human consequences, deforestation has a big impact on biodiversity. The Amazon is a shelter, a home for a lot of species, some are also endangered because of forestry. And apart from this, a dwindling forest ecosystem is more vulnerable to the rapid change of our climate.
That’s why people fight back. Many indigenous communities such as the Achuar have created their own organisations and alliances to lobby for their defence and rights. For example, many of them use the media to publicise their concerns and encourage people’s action in support of them.
What can you do to help the Amazon and it’s native inhabitants?
Here are some easy actions we can take, to help the Amazon and it’s inhabitants:
Share the stories about the current threats the Amazon rainforest is facing. For example, share information on your social media accounts about the fires and the increasing deforestation rates. Inform others what is going on.
Keep an close eye on what political leaders and companies in your country are doing and what their position is towards, for example, deforestation: are they part of the problem or part of the solution?
Be grateful for the guardians of the forest. They count only for 4% of the population in the world but protect almost 80% of the remaining biodiversity (the Amazon rainforest) on this planet. What will happen if these people disappear? How will the Amazon rainforest be protected then?
We all live on a beautiful planet and it’s everyone’s task to protect it. Giving up is not an option, the world is our home. So, what can we learn from the Achuar and all other indigenous communities? First of all, how to connect to nature. In the modern world, the connection between nature-human is sometimes fading. The indigenous communities understand the beauty of this coexistence relationship and it is natural to them. We must support them, in all their demands and mobilisation strategies. Their struggle needs to be our struggle. The Amazon is of global interest and the indigenous inhabitants are its guardian.
Show them your support, join their cause, respect their home and their traditions. Although many think that nature needs us more than ever, in reality we are the ones who are dependent on nature. Without it future generations will not be able to survive. The Achuar community knows this and takes action. And you? What do you do?
Everybody has something to give. Let’s make everyday Earth day!