The earth is burning, as we watch along on our smartphone screens. The symptoms are textbook. It’s a bona fide emergency. As our planet’s lungs cough, they spit confessions urging us to look back past the first spark that set the forest afire, because behind the match that set the Amazon ablaze is a very human hand.
Now, when we wake to doomsday images on a nearly daily basis we know that the planet isn’t simply dying; it is being killed. It’s a slow kind of violence that accumulates, like a thousand tiny cuts meted out over time. When we see photos that look like an apocalyptic polar opposite of Noah’s ark as animals of all kinds retreat and wish for water, like snakes desperately sliding across charcoal-black rainforest canopies, we are witnessing an environmental cancer spread like wildfire. Yet like the death of Cecil, the lion famously shot dead by a dentist and subsequently publicly mourned by the media, the blazes in the Amazon are a symptom of a much larger sickness.
They spell doom unless we learn how to care about them.
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Shocking statistics reveal how this happened; some 90 per cent of the land razed in the Amazon is done so to clear the way for cows. In this strange world, it’s no exaggeration to say that the air we breathe and stake our very survival on is slowly being eaten away by our ravenous hunger for animal products.
One small pocket of the planet, the Amazon rainforest, is responsible for producing up to a staggering 20 per cent of the entire Earth’s oxygen supply. Even though many of us were taught the essential role trees play in providing us with oxygen in primary school, others choose to enact or sponsor activities that indicate that such basic biology classes are being ignored.
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