The magnificent forests of South America known as the lungs of the Earth, has now been burning for over three weeks now, leading to massive pollution and death of various endangered species. Initially not given attention to, environmentalists are making people wake up to the fact that once this is gone, the world will face a catastrophe soon. Everyone took to Twitter to share the hashtag #PrayforAmazonia.
The viral movement came as the skies above Sao Paulo blackened with the smoke from forest fires burning in the Brazilian states of Amazonas and Rondonia, over 1,000 miles away from the city of Sao Paulo. The area of one football field and half is being destroyed everyday. There also has been comparison of hypocrisy as many billionaires came together to save the historic Notredame from fire, but not the Amazonia rain forest.
Many of the tweets express shock that parts of the Amazon rainforest, the largest rainforest in the world, have been aflame for the past two weeks. And yet the people have only recently come to know about it. Social media analytics site Hashtracking estimates that over 700,000 tweets with the hashtag PrayforAmazonia have been sent in the past 30 days, amid a record number of forest fires in the Amazon this year. But maybe, this time, even prayers won’t be enough.
These fires are part of an ongoing trend under the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro. Areas of the Amazon the size of football pitches are now routinely cleared through slash-and-burn techniques, and critics argue that Bolsonaro’s government is encouraging this deforestation. Bolsonaro has himself claimed that all this data is made up and has been fabricated to discredit his government.
According to preliminary data collected by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), approximately 870 square miles of Amazonian forest was destroyed by human-made fires in July. This represents a 278-percent increase in the amount of forest destroyed during in the same period in 2018.