The Amazon is on fire. And this year, it has burned an alarming rate. Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), which began tracking the fires in Brazil in 2013, said Tuesday that the Amazon region has seen a rise in fires since last year.
In 2019, there have been 72,843 fires, half of which were in the Amazon. When compared to the same period of time in 2018, this is an about 84% increase, according to the BBC. The current fire has raged in the South American rainforest, which produces 20% of the Earth’s atmospheric oxygen and is considered an important tool in combating climate change.
As communities and animals near and even thousands of miles away feel the effects, activists are calling out Jair Bolsonaro, who has taken steps to leave the environment in a more vulnerable state. Bolsonaro, for example, recently fired Ricardo Galvão, who served as the director of INPE, after backing satellite data that showed that deforestation had increased 88% in June compared to the same period of time last year.
Additionally, the country’s environmental agency has had its budget slashed by $23 million. Add to that the fact that Bolsonaro has shown how much he prioritizes business over the environment, and you have a recipe for disaster. And while we should care about what’s happening in the Amazon because it immediately affects Indigenous communities and flora and fauna, it concerns all of us because what happens in one part of the world influences another.