I have been watching the images of fires burning in the Amazon with horror. Not only are trees that are hundreds of years old burning, and the animals that live in them, but the forest homes of the Indigenous people are burning, too.
Losing parts of the Amazon rainforest affects the whole planet. The Amazon rainforest is one of the most unique, bio-diverse ecosystems on the planet, and it absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, something that helps reduce climate change. So, when we lose parts of the forest we lose something that helps sustain our planet.
The fires burning in the Amazon are not due to climate change. The fires are being started by people who want to clear the forest so they can grow soy and raise cattle. And these people are emboldened by the President of Brazil, who wants the forest to be cleared to increase economic activity. He said he wants to weaken the rights of Indigenous people who live in the forest and he wants to reduce the amount of their land.
The choices we make can make a difference. It’s not enough to be outraged at the loss of the forest and the cruelty to the Indigenous people. But reducing the amount of beef that we consume we will reduce the incentive to burn forest land. And, it turns out, reducing our consumption of beef will also dramatically help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which will make a huge impact on climate change.
By making smart decisions and changing our lifestyles we will be able to look our kids in the eyes and say that we are doing everything we can to help pass on a healthy planet. And we will be supporting Indigenous people who are asking for our help. I am compelled to walk upon this Earth more gently and I hope you will join me, too.
Please watch my latest video: The Burning of the Amazon Forest.
“Protect the ocean and you protect yourself.”
Ocean of thanks for your continued support,
Jean-Michel Cousteau, President of Ocean Futures Society