There was a time in human history when we revered the earth and all that thrived on her surface. Cultures worshiped her as the source of creation. Gaia lived in our hearts as the mother, the giver of life, who created us and sustains us. While that’s not currently a popular faith, it is mostly true. Without the earth, without air, fresh water, plants, trees, animals, birds, fish, and places to build shelter, we will cease to exist.
We have discovered how important a small creature like a bee is to our continued life. How much more important are trees that make oxygen? What good does it do to clear trees with fire to plant more food when the earth may become toxic to human life without those trees?
I realize I am asking a lot of questions to which there are no answers. The governments of several nations which should be protecting both citizens and the countries themselves have turned greedy and deaf to the pleading of those who have watched habitat destruction and seen the scary results on smaller scales. What we are losing now in the Brazilian Amazon is exactly like losing a lung for the planet.
The fires are not a result of climate change. These are not wildfires, either. These were deliberately set by farmers to clear trees and plant crops. However, climate change can make the situation worse, more destructive. Less moisture available means the tress will burn hotter and longer. Under warmer, dryer conditions, the fires will spread quickly. The dual negative effect comes about when these trees, valued because of their ability to absorb carbon dioxide, are no longer there to absorb the stuff and are pumping it back into the atmosphere as it burns.
A friend of mine recently posted on public media, “Climate change is good. People need to be eliminated.” I can’t entirely agree with him, but I do understand this stance. I also get that Brazil has had an economic decline since they have been enforcing and protecting the forests. Citizens, especially farmers, often struggle to make a living from their occupations. No one answer will solve all the issues, but education and improved connectivity might allow some families to earn money as remote workers in some lines of employment.
Alas, many ranchers and farmers are not in the trade for the money they make. They find prestige, social status, and a preferred lifestyle in raising cattle. They need education and programs to help them invest in the land they clear, so it will continue to provide fodder for the cattle, so they won’t need to cut and burn more trees for better land.
If it would do any good, I would organize a bucket brigade to head out to Brazil and do our share to put out the fire. The Brazilian military is getting involved in fighting the fire as well as resources from the US. I spend time every day picturing the last flame going out. But once the flames have died down, we need to ramp up our efforts to save the rainforest. Do not for a minute believe that because it’s not in our country, it’s not worth working to save. That is a foolish and fatal world view. We are one race and we have one planet.
This organization, Rainforest Foundation US, is dedicated to preserving the trees by putting them back into the hands of indigenous people. If you click on that link, you will find 10 easy to do things that will help them save the rainforest. You can simply like their Facebook page and share some of their stories. You can send them $5 to continue the fight. You can email Peru’s president and urge him to make the claims of indigenous people a higher priority than those of mining operations. Any one of these tasks can make a difference and show that you do respect and revere Planet Earth.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.