Prominently known for its abundance of underground oil, the Amazon has long been a jewel to the oil companies and government. According to WWF Global, 19% of the Amazon has already been destroyed for oil exploitation purposes in the past 36 years, leaving only 81% intact. However, as these statistics show, the deforestation rates continue to decrease not only because of popular demand for fossil fuels, but also individual illegal logging triumphs; in July of 2012, 122.337 hectares of Amazonian land were destroyed by unauthorized logging, whereas only 34.902 destroyed hectares were authorized, thus illustrating an inconsistency with environmental policies and respect for the homes of the Amazon.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just the 400 or so Amazonian tribes whose lives depend on the preservation of this rainforest- it’s all of our lives. In fact, our future depends heavily on the conservation of the Amazon- that is, if we want to witness the existence of our planet 20 years from now. Responsible for over 20% of the world’s oxygen, the Amazon forest contributes to keeping the climate constant by storing carbon. By doing this, not only do photosynthetic plants of the forest release oxygen into the atmosphere, but also this process in turn is responsible for stagnating weather conditions, specifically creating predictable rainfall patterns.
However, as more lodgers and corporations chop down trees to exploit oil, the accumulated fossil fuels become released into the air. This imbalance in the environment contributes to irregular rainfall conditions, including droughts and flooding, which can lead to famine, higher poverty rates, and home destruction throughout the world. The 2005 and 2010 droughts in the Amazon serve as preludes to climate change disasters, consisting of hundreds of deaths and exterminations of tribes.
Addressing factors to climate change is crucial to saving our planet, and preserving the Amazon is one impactful solution. But conserving the rain forests doesn’t start with picket signs and protests- it starts with an educated global society.