The Blue Planet’s lungs are on fire. The ravaging flames erupting across the Amazon rainforests have sent shock waves throughout the world. Climate protestors have taken to the streets and targeted Brazil’s embassies across the world calling for action. Such has been the impact of the fire that Sao Paulo, Brazil’s economic capital, is virtually under shadows as darkness descends on the city even before sun down. This is nothing but ominous for the earth. The Amazon rainforests are known to produce at least 20% of the world’s oxygen while also storing huge volumes of carbon dioxide.
The fire poses a serious threat not only to the ecology of Amazon which is home to millions of animal species, but also to the indigenous population. Now as the forests burn faster than ever—there is an 80% jump over last year as acknowledged by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research—massive amounts of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro might have tried to make light of the grim scenario by calling his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron “sensationalist” for the latter’s “our house is burning” tweet ahead of the G7 summit, but it should not be lost on world leaders that incidences such as this can turn apocalyptic by accelerating climate change.
Bolsonaro’s government has been accused of attempts to weaken environmental protection to foster economic development in the Amazonian region. That’s a worrisome trend and has a lesson for the global economies which, faced with economic downturn, are tempted to risk the environment for development. At this juncture, it is important to understand that the impact of climate change—once accelerated—cannot be put back on reverse gear. It would put the entire earth in peril.
Back home, the devastating floods across India are symptomatic of what climate change has in store for us. The Amazon fires have come as a warning which must be heeded by the tallest leaders of the world and not ignored as Brazil’s problem. It, definitely, is not.