People are constantly using the hashtag #PrayForAmazonia on social media users in an attempt to draw the world’s attention to the Amazon rainforest, which has been devastated for several weeks by intense fires that can be seen from space.
The scale of the Siberian wildfires is underlined by this animation of the huge area of the smoke cloud: more than 5 million km².
For comparison, the EU is about 4.5 million km² and the contiguous US about 8.1 million km².
(Via @anttilip of @IlmaTiede)pic.twitter.com/RDhntqaDEO
— WMO | OMM (@WMO) August 12, 2019
— Leandro Mota (@leandromota_) August 19, 2019
Smoke from the blaze has even darkened the afternoon sky in São Paulo.
The cause of the fires is still unknown, but many blame the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, as opening the Amazon to corporate exploitation was a key plank of his election campaign.
Pontualmente 4h da noite em SP pic.twitter.com/07ZJdUeOM6
— Gianvitor Dias (@Gianvitor) August 19, 2019
The Brazilian government’s National Space Research Institute (INPE) published satellite data in June 2019 which showed that deforestation has drastically increased under Bolsonaro. However, the research was later called “a lie” and INPE director Ricardo Galvão was fired for defending the data.
🌎Just a little alert to the world: the sky randomly turned dark today in São Paulo, and meteorologists believe it’s smoke from the fires burning *thousands* of kilometers away, in Rondônia or Paraguay. Imagine how much has to be burning to create that much smoke(!). SOS🌎 pic.twitter.com/P1DrCzQO6x
— Shannon Sims (@shannongsims) August 20, 2019
Bolsonaro has declared that the data showing the increase in wildfires is not accurate, and even blamed NGOs without evidence for starting fires. He said his government is working to control the fires, but it is unclear what measures the administration is taking.
On the other hand, Twitter users slammed the media for not paying enough attention to this “ international tragedy”, as the rainforest has a crucial role in absorbing planet-warming carbon dioxide.
The Amazon rainforest has been on fire for weeks, and it’s so bad it’s literally blotting out the sun miles away https://t.co/oDjcECJVgp
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) August 20, 2019
It seems that while Mother Nature is weeping, no one hears the cry. The fires are covering almost 20% of its land up to now, and scientists claim that if the forest destruction increases by another 5%, it will lead to devastating climate changes and even more unfortunate outcomes.