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Stop the Torching of the Amazon Rainforest
Once more, the threat of arson looms over Amazonia, with thousands of square kilometers annually burnt to make way for cattle farming, industrial agriculture, and mining. Currently, Indigenous groups are appealing to the international community for aid, proposing a global pact to safeguard 80% of the Amazon region by 2025.
Across the vast expanse of the Amazon, varied forces - ranchers, agribusinesses, oil and mining companies, and land speculators - are relentlessly penetrating into the heart of the forest, engaging in indiscriminate deforestation and burning.
Their actions witness little to no resistance in Brazil, largely due to President Bolsonaro's active support of the slash-and-burn policy. Regulatory authorities responsible for environmental concerns and indigenous peoples' rights have seen their budgets slashed and significant staff layoffs.
As per reports from the Brazilian institute INPE and the NGO IMAZON, areas of rainforest destroyed in the Brazilian Amazon alone have surged to over 10,000 km² per annum.
Satellite data reveals hundreds of thousands of fires ignited each year, often blanketing large portions of the Amazon in dense smoke. Deforestation is rampant, propelled from the south and along rivers and roads - a problem that extends beyond Brazil's borders, with neighbouring countries similarly affected.
The Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) is sending out an emergency call to the international community. They represent over 500 indigenous groups who seek a global pact aiming for the protection of 80% of the Amazon region by 2025.
Their report, "Amazonia Against the Clock", underlines the imperative to protect the largest forest area on Earth, a space they liken to not just the "lungs" but indeed the "heart" of the planet. Action is needed now - allowing deforestation to continue unchecked risks pushing the ecosystem to a critical point of irreversible collapse.
This crisis is not confined to South America: Amazon nations must declare an environmental state of emergency, and industrialized nations worldwide need to accept and address their role in the climate crisis.
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