The Amazon rainforest is still on fire. This month saw a spike in media coverage for the devastating fires that have been tearing through both natural habitat and indigenous people’s land, but this was no wildfire. These were man-made, controlled fires, burning without regard for anyone or anything.
And these aren’t the first fires, either. Throughout the month of May, every hour, controlled fires wiped out the size of two football fields of rainforest. The blazes, set to intentionally clear land to make way for cattle ranching and farming, have significantly increased this summer due to a combination of deregulation, led by the Brazilian government, and the dry season.
What’s the issue with the Amazon fires?
The Amazon fires signify a number of things; political instability, the destruction of natural resources for profit, and the the apathy shown toward indigenous peoples that has been a frequent occurrence throughout modern history.
Within the Ethical Influencers community, we have members from all over the world – including Brazil – yet these fires still feel out of our individual control. So what can we do about it? Is there any way we can help?
It’s common to feel a sense of lack of control in international emergencies like this one, but there are still ways you can take action from afar. We are grateful to the members below who have shared the ways they are responding to the crisis, and highlighting that we each can make a positive impact, through our shopping habits, political action, and raising our voices.
Here’s a few ideas on how you can also support the rainforest, wherever you are in the world:
Learn, Donate, Criminalise Ecocide & Change Your Bank Account
BY FRANCESCA OF ETHICAL UNICORN
1. Donate money to fighting the fires. The best groups we can donate to are those on the frontlines, especially those who are working to protect indigenous land rights. These fires were deliberately set, and a large part of that is also an illegal attempt to force indigenous people out of the rainforest (1 million people live in the Amazon). Organisations you can donate to include Rainforest Alliance (who are sending all donations to frontline groups), Socioambiental, Rainforest Action Network, or Amazon Watch.
2. Support Ecocide law. This is one of the most impactful things we can do from far away, it takes 2 minutes and costs £5, so very accessible for many of us. There is a legal movement to make ecocide (destruction of the natural world) illegal in international criminal court. It would hold people personally responsible for setting fires, signing permits, and funding ecocidal practices, meaning it would be highly effective and widespread when it comes to creating change. The team is currently working with island nations who may be underwater in the next decade to get this tabled – all money goes towards the legal costs of making it happen. It has been tested as a criminal law thoroughly so we know that, once implemented, it would definitely work. I really believe it’s one of the best chances we have – learn more and sign up to show your support here.
3. Change your bank account. A lot of people don’t realise this, but mainstream banks are very involved with fossil fuels and the arms trade, as well as providing credit to a lot of Brazilian beef exporters who’ve been causing damage, and they use the money from our accounts to do this. There are however ethical banks and building societies that don’t do this. I recently wrote a big guide to ethical finance which you can read here which has lots of information on how to switch.
Read more in Francesca’s guide to protecting the rainforest.
Show Your Support & Strike
BY NEIGE OF THE GREEN BEAUTY DIRECTORY
1. Sign the global petition that the organisation Avaaz has created to save the Amazon rainforest.
2. Consider donating to Avaaz – they are also putting together a 16-month action plan (leading to the 2020 UN Climate Change Summit), and raising funds to finance the actions planned (donations can be as low as 1$).
3. Make a donation – Earth Alliance, Rainforest Alliance and One Tree Planted are all organisations to which donations can be made to help with this crisis.
4. The Climate Emergency is such that both personal and global changes are needed, so you might want to consider joining the Global Climate Strike from September 20th to 27th (for the changes needed to occur as fast as possible, law-makers need to see that civil society is mobilised).
Consider Your Own Environmental Impact
BY CAMILLA OF HOLISTIC FISH
“I believe the fires are a direct result of human induced climate change. The amazon fires are a devastating example but if we look closely there have been a lot of big disastrous fires in recent years. I am thus trying to see the big picture and help spread the word, communicating some evidence-based facts and trying to make as many people as possible understand that action is needed now. In my personal life I try as much as I can to reduce my environmental impact and consider deforestation as an issues when I weigh out my choices, as changing plants community might also make an area more susceptible to fire (by speeding up loss of moisture , the leading fire cause).”
Read more in Camilla’s post detailing why our house is on fire.
Speak Up, Donate, Avoid Rainforest-Harming Goods & Meat
BY CHARLOTTE OF MINDFUL DRIFTER
1. Your voice matters, and the louder you speak the more people will listen. Share the posts you see on Instagram and Facebook. Share this blog post, keep sharing and making people aware as to what is happening.
2. Donate to Amazon Watch – One million Amazonian’s lives are in danger. So donate to help support them fight against the deforestation of their homes.
3. Donate to The World Wide Fund to help protect over 10% of the worlds biodiversity.
5. Reduce your paper and wood consumption, or purchase rainforest safe products.
6. Reduce your meat consumption – Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of animal destruction.
Read more in Charlotte’s in-depth post on the Amazon crisis.
BY NATH OF BEAUTYCALYPSE
There are over 180 different Indigenous Peoples, thousands of communities whose home is the Brazilian Amazon. They are the ones directly threatened by the powerful agricultural, mining and logging industries. Not only deforestation has increased, they are also constantly experiencing a dramatic escalation in violence from criminal groups invading their lands.
These Indigenous Peoples are the true guardians of the rainforest but they remain quite invisible to the general public in other regions. The petition can help.
Also let’s face it, it’s our global — and personal! — over-consumption which has contributed to the crisis, because the deforestation happens due to a massive global demand for those goods. So it does help, in the long run, to simply consume less. Less meat, less plastic, less fast fashion, less stuff in general.
Also, remember that there are fires everywhere in the world right now. Most of them human-made. Take Indonesia for example, where the palm oil industry has been creating a human rights crisis, and an environmental crisis for years now. Here you could consider asking food and cosmetics companies where their palm kernel oil based ingredients come from and if they say, RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), ask which level of certification (only “Identity Preserved” can truly be traced back).
Also just generally try to stay informed throughout. I won’t sugar-coat because this kind of knowledge is painful, it’s inconvenient, it’s very saddening and frustrating, but it’s your hero path out of the “matrix” made up by a society whose motto is “I CONSUME THEREFORE I AM”, trust me on that. You will feel so much better when you build up vital (!) knowledge, rather than checking out which celebrity just ditched or married which other celebrity, or which lipstick (chances are it’s made using conflict palm oil) someone wears. Let’s try to survive this. Love on ya.”
Keep the Conversation Going & Disrupt the System
BY IMOGEN OF HAZAAR THE BAZAAR
“Understand the situation holistically and make sure those around you do too. Keep the conversation going about it, recognise that the fires are a symptom of the disastrous system in place and recognise and support the Indigenous Amazonian people.
Keep sharing unbiased news about it and also speak up about the fires happening all over the world right now – it’s all linked. Personally, you can donate to a number of organisations, reduce your meat intake if you are privileged enough and make an effort to understand where the food you consume comes from – but the most important thing you can do is help disrupt the system by using your voice.”
Read more in Imogen’s post on everything you need to know about the Amazon fires.
Support, Change, Shout & Share
BY CHARLIE OF CHARLIE ON TRAVEL
- Support organisations that campaign to save our rainforests, such as @rainforestalliance community forestry initiatives. Protect an acre of rainforest through the @rainforestactionnetwork or support the @rainforesttrust to buy rainforest land. Support indigenous people to protect the rainforest through @amazonwatch. There are many more.
- Stop eating beef, or reduce your intake if you can. Cattle ranching is one of the primary drivers of Amazon deforestation. That burger isn’t worth it. If you do eat beef, try to eat locally sourced meat.
- Avoid foods with palm oil. This is the biggest driver of deforestation in Indonesian rainforests. Check the ingredients list on the back of food packaging.
- Be a conscious consumer. Buy from companies with responsible supply chains.
- Hold companies accountable. Be a complainer until they do better.
- Share this post and other posts and keep up to date. Tag news agencies and influencers.
- Talk about what’s going on. Awareness is an important part of change, and we’re stronger as a community.
- When it’s polling time, VOTE for leaders who understand the urgency of our climate crisis and will do something about it.