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Forests are extremely important for storing and removing carbon from the atmosphere. The Amazon in specific, stores around 100 billion tons of carbon, or ten years of global greenhouse gas emissions. It also removes 600 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year! With these kinds of numbers, it’s easy to understand why protecting the Amazon is vital to our survival. Not only is the Amazon “an exceptional bulwark against climate change,”  but it is also home to so many different species of plants and animals, as well as more than 20 million Brazilians. Sadly, every year, we hear about the terrible Amazon fires that are harming animals, people, and the environment. These fires are entirely preventable because they are usually intentionally set to clear land for livestock.

The fires and deforestation release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and make the air quality incredibly dangerous to those who live in the area. A report entitled, “‘The Air is Unbearable’: Health Impacts of Deforestation-Related Fires in the Brazilian Amazon” by the Human Rights Watch, the Institute for Health Policy Studies, and the Amazon Environmental Research Institute, found that in 2019, there were “2,195 hospitalizations due to respiratory illness attributable to the fires,” and children, the elderly, people with pre-existing conditions, and pregnant individuals were at a higher risk. It is likely, that there were also many affected individuals who did not have access to a hospital and thus, were not included in this data as they found that around three million people were exposed to harmful levels of fine particulate matter, which is linked to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as premature death. Experts predict that the 2020 fires will be even worse as the amount of kilometers already burned is almost up to the number burned in 2019. The health impacts will also be exacerbated by the pandemic. 

The Amazon is considered “Earth’s lungs” – we can’t afford to lose this rainforest if we have any hope of keeping our planet healthy enough to be habitable into the future! Sign this petition if you want the Brazilian Government to finally step in and stop this massive, greenhouse gas-emitting deforestation!

To continue speaking up, sign these other petitions as well:

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