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Stop the Amazon Fires: Pressure the United Nations to Act

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The Amazon rainforest is in a critical state of near-collapse with a record number of fires in Brazil this year—twice as many as in 2018—as the Brazilian government allows it to happen. The fires have been deliberately set to deforest the Amazon and displace its indigenous populations to make way for soybean and cattle farming and oil drilling, actions encouraged by Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. The Amazon is known as the as the “lungs” of our Earth; its oxygen is an essential, irreparable link that holds the global ecosystem within balance. Scientists say that with another 5 percent burned, the Amazon could reach the tipping point of ecosystem collapse.

Dramatic and swift action needs to take place, and the United Nations has the power to move on issues such as peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, humanitarian and health emergencies, gender equality, food production, and more. This situation checks almost all boxes.

A global online petition at Change.org urges the UN to:

1. Send in immediate humanitarian support to all the indigenous and local groups that have lost their homes and way of life.

2. Coordinate a large-scale effort with Brazil and neighboring countries to fight the fires in the highest-risk areas, such as those affecting indigenous peoples, animals and the most fragile ecosystems.

3. Create economic sanctions on Brazil that would make the cutting, selling and buying of timber and meat produced in the country illegal.

Natural Awakenings magazine will be dedicating the coming year to covering the climate crisis and providing personal choices that people can make to reduce their own carbon footprint.

The role of the rainforest in human and planetary health

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