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  • This is footage of the Brazilian Amazon on fire.

  • As of August 20th 2019 there have been more than 74,000 fires in this region, and that's not normal.

  • In fact, according to Brazil's National Institute for Space Research, it's already the largest number of fires on record for a single year.

  • So what makes this year so different?

  • And what happens if the fires continue to burn?

  • First of all, not only is there an unprecedented number of fires, but there's also a massive amount of smoke in the air so massive that it's visible from space.

  • Scientists estimate that it stretches 1.2 million square miles across Brazil, and it even briefly eclipsed the sun above Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo.

  • So how did we get here?

  • The simple answer is people.

  • Scientists say that humans ignited as much as 99% of these fires, largely to clear land for agriculture.

  • But that alone isn't actually unusual there.

  • Normally fires in the dry season from July to October, which is when ranchers and farmers are more likely to burn.

  • Where it gets complicated, is when you try to look at why this year is so much worse.

  • Environmental groups say it's largely because of one man, zheer balsa, narrow.

  • The president of Brazil, the government of gyroball Sonando has sent a signal both in terms of its policies and in terms of his rhetoric that illegal activity arson, deforestation, land invasions, violence will be tolerated.

  • That's Christian Poirier of the nonprofit Amazon Watch.

  • And he says these fires were started by ranchers, land grabbers and a range of other actors who were emboldened by bowl scenarios rhetoric.

  • According to Poirier, They're setting fire to portions of the rainforest to acquire more land more property because now there's no risk of getting caught.

  • But it actually gets worse.

  • According to CNN Bolson, Aro has also slashed the budget of the country's Environmental enforcement agency by as much as $23 million.

  • If we look at these moves, we see the table was set for the kind of the devastation we're seeing today.

  • Balsa Narrow himself has offered up an alternative explanation for the fires.

  • He suggested that non governmental organizations NGOs ignited them as a way to embarrass his administration, though he presented no proof.

  • But here's the thing, regardless of how they started.

  • These fires are really bad, and not just for the million or so indigenous people who live in the Amazon.

  • For one, these fires air releasing loads of harmful gasses into the air like carbon monoxide, which maps like this show is spreading in the region.

  • And they also drive up deforestation, adding to what has already been a really bad year for the Amazon.

  • And this is where things get even scarier.

  • You see, deforestation in the Amazon triggers a negative feedback loop.

  • The more trees that fall, the dryer the Amazon becomes, and a dry Amazon is more likely to burn.

  • Now, scientists warn that we may soon reach a point.

  • Where that cycle is irreversible.

  • We're talking about is reaching a tipping point in the Amazon today, where enough of the forest has been either destroyed or degraded, and it can no longer create its own environment, its own rainfall, and that could trigger what scientists call a die back.

  • So the moment you cross that threshold, that tipping point, you're moving into a place where the Amazon will turn into a savannah.

  • He says that the Amazon would become a totally different environment, far from the one we know today, which is home to three million species of plants and animals, which sucks up is Muchas 600 million tons of carbon each year and which supplies as much as 20% of the oxygen that we breathe.

This is footage of the Brazilian Amazon on fire.

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Why The Amazon Fires Are Such A Big Deal

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/24
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