Environmental cancer

The frame of raging fires in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is a stirring scene. This has prompted scientists to warn that the fires could thrust a death-dealing blast to the worldwide fight against climate change.

Brazil’s space research center, the National Institute for Space Research, known by the wordplay INPE, has recorded more than 74,000 fires so far this year, more than half in the Amazon region —an 84 percent increase in the comparative period in 2018, the highest number since records began in 2013.

The Amazon, often referred to as the planet’s lungs for producing 20 percent of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere, is considered important in the fight against global warming due to its ability to absorb carbon from the air.

Amazon rainforest

Brazil, the largest country in both South America and Latin America with 8.5 million square kilometers and over 208 million people, is the world’s fifth largest country by area and the fifth most populous.

It has the biggest share of the 670 million hectares of forest—60 percent—and is home to more species than anywhere in the world.

Images and videos on social media, seen here in the Philippines, have shown monstrous pinions of smoke darting out from the greenery and winds-whipped lines of fire leaving blackened waste below.

The smoke has gone as far as Sao Paulo, 2,736 kilometers away. Images from the city, which honors the Apostle, Saint Paul of Tarsus, showing the skyline in pitch darkness in mid afternoon, the sun eclipsed by smoke and ash.

Whether the fires seen worldwide are wildfires or those directly related to deforestation, we stand behind environmentalists who are in full throttle in their campaign to save the Amazon.

The Amsterdam-headquartered Greenpeace, which is operational in 55 countries, has warned the Brazil government against slithering to what it called a “threat to the climate equilibrium.” The Gland, Switzerland-based World Wildlife Fund itself has also warned that if the Amazon burns to that legend of no return, the rainforest could become a dry grassland, no longer livable by majority of its wildlife.

“If this happens, instead of being a source of oxygen, it could start emitting carbon—the major driver of climate change,” according to WWF. This would raise the probability of what might well be an environmental lung cancer.

Topics: Editorial , Environmental cancer , Brazil , Amazon rainforest , forest fires , wild fire , climate change
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