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Three strategic ways to protect the rainforests

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Burning rainforest in Brazil. Image: NASA/Wikimedia Commons

Videos and images of fires raging across the Amazon can be seen from space. The deforestation of the Amazon has been raising alarms for decades. There had been efforts to curb the devastation, but then Jair Bolsonaro was elected in Brazil. Throughout his campaign and since he took office, he has been publicly dismissive about concerns over protecting the rainforest. As president, he has encouraged logging and farming in the rainforest and this year the Amazon has experienced a record-setting number of fires -- with nearly 73,000 fires in 2019 so far, an 83 per cent increase from the same time last year.

The following suggestions have been compiled from blogs by Melissa Locker on Fast Company and by Tiffany Diane Tso on Refinery 29. Please click through and read their blogs for additional suggestions. 

  1. Support the land rights of Indigenous peoples of the Amazon. Amazon Watch and the Rainforest Action's Protect-an-Acre program are working on the ground with Indigenous activists to support them. Another effective effort to buy rainforest land and train rangers to protect the land is run by the Rainforest Trust. If there are other ways to directly support the organizations resisting deforestation, please let us know.
  2. Reduce your paper and wood consumption or buy rainforest safe products certified by the Rainforest Alliance. The app Buycott has become increasingly sophisticated and user friendly and makes responsible consumption much easier.
  3. The cattle sector of the Brazilian Amazon, incentivized by the international beef and leather trades, has been responsible for about 80 per cent of all deforestation in the region, or about 14 per cent of the world's total annual deforestation, making it the world's largest single driver of deforestation. Domestic meat producers in Brazil work with international companies that 'are committed to zero-carbon standards, in principle" and are more susceptible to public outcry than Bolsonaro. This recent report by Amazon Watch, also identifies companies and investors with links to illegal deforestation in Brazil. Get involved and target these companies in campaigns. We need people to use their market power to send a signal to Brazil's leadership that the global community will not tolerate the policies of the new administration.

I know it feels hopeless, so let's act to build hope.

Image: NASA/Wikimedia Commons

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