The Amazon rain forest produces 20% of the world’s oxygen. The Amazon is on fire. 20% is already deforested. Since Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s President who has encouraged mining, ranching and logging by burning off the Amazon, took office in January 1300 square miles have been burned, a 39% increase. A proponent of economic development, he has scorned those who have criticized his policies as misguided and noted the “world’s affection for the Amazon.” Whether or not we have an affection for the Amazon, we all have an affection for oxygen.
The world is taking notice. Countries that have given money to Brazil for rainforest preservation are now threatening to cut of the funding. Environmental groups are decrying the impact of the burning the Amazon, which has been called the lungs of the earth. Balsonaro now says he will deploy the military to fight the fires that his policies have allowed to propagate. There are over 70,000 now burning. Good luck with that! Apparently, our climate change denying Administration has offered to help. How?
The Amazon fires are not the only story. Look around. Greenland, which Trump wants to buy but Denmark says is not for sale, is melting. His Administration has reduced the size of national monuments to open up more land for oil and gas drilling and coal mining. Species habitat has been reduced throughout the globe. There is lead in the water in Newark. Sea levels are rising. Western wildfires have been unprecedented. The EPA has been neutered. I could go on, but you get the picture.
Last year, all the world’s nations combined pumped nearly 38.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. The Amazon not only absorbs carbon dioxide, it also produces oxygen. As more carbon gets pumped into the air, and less oxygen is produced, where is the tipping point where we can’t breathe?