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  • Rovindu Ambagolla

Triple Bottom Tuesday >>> The Alarming Rate of Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest

Picture Credit: Karsten Winegeart

The Amazon is located in the heart of South America, and it is home to more than three million different species of animals. The Amazon rainforest spans across six million square kilometres and is home to some of the rarest species in the world like the Golden Lion Tamarin monkey, Jaguars and even River Dolphins. However, this ancient rainforest is being cut down at an alarming rate, threatening not just the animals that call it home, but the entire planet.

Deforestation rates in the Amazon rainforest has hit its highest levels since 2006. This year alone 13,235 square kilometres of the Amazon rainforest was lost to deforestation to make space for cattle farming and mining.

- Golden Lion Tamarin monkey (estimated to be 1500 left in the wild) Picture Source: Britannica Website

Deforestation has increased under President Bolsonaro’s reign in Brazil as he sees exploiting the rainforest for its natural resources as a way to develop Brazil into a wealthier country. President Bolsonaro complained to investors on a tour to Dubai that the attacks towards Brazil on deforestation were “unfair” when he himself makes sure that people face little-to-no consequences for deforestation. The rate of deforestation in Brazil is skyrocketing despite the “promise” that Brazil made in the recent COP26 meeting to end and reverse deforestation, whilst the current administration clearly has no intention to do so. This goes to show how stupendously easy it is to lie in the United Nation’s climate change conference and not face any repercussions.

However, the government’s lack of involvement in efforts to mitigate deforestation is only part of the problem. Private companies flooding the country with money to buy their natural resources is another key issue as it provides an incentive for more people to cut down the rainforest. Last year an investigation conducted by Greenpeace discovered that meat suppliers of Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Nando’s and McDonalds was using soy grown on farms built on deforested land to feed the cattle.

However, despite the adversity, NGOs and other local and international organisations are still fighting to keep the Amazon rainforest intact. Organisations such as the Rainforest Trust, the Amazon Conservation Team and the Amazon Watch are few of the established organisations which strive to protect the environment. For example, the Rainforest Trust has been actively protecting rainforests since 1988, and they are currently protecting almost 30 million acres of land and over 2200 different species of animals. It is essential that these NGOs thrive further to slow and discourage the rate of deforestation.

November 30th 2021 | 2:30 PM

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