Why the Amazon Rainforest is so important and what can we do to help?

by Eloise Sands

 The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest, spanning two million miles across nine South American countries. The rainforest has the ability to influence climates and create its own weather due to its vast size. [1] 

Every three days, a ‘new’ species of animal or plant is discovered in the Amazon. [2]The Amazon is essential not only locally for food security, but also globally because it stores 76 billion tonnes of carbon. Trees emit 20 billion tonnes of water per day, playing an important role in global carbon and water cycles. In a nutshell, the Amazon is critical to resolving the climate crisis. [2]

This carbon store is under threat from deforestation, which requires immediate action. Not only does deforestation contribute to the climate crisis, but it also creates a positive feedback loop in which rising temperatures dry out tropical forests, increasing the risk of wildfires. 

We cannot address the climate crisis without the intervention of the Amazon, and it needs our protection to save this carbon store. “We need to act fast to protect this life-sustaining treasure for the millions of species and people that depend on it” – Sarah Hutchison, Head of Brazil and Amazon Unit [2]

What can you do today that will help The Amazon?

  • 1)Avoiding foods that contribute to deforestation, such as meat, soy, and palm oil. Purchasing from farms that use sustainable practises. 
  • 2) Recycled materials, such as paper-based products made from recycled pulp, help to reduce the use of hardwood. Look for certified organisations, such as the Forest Stewardship Council. 
  • 3) Buy less and give back more. Use companies that are carbon neutral or aim to be carbon negative, such as Patagonia. Teadora is a skincare company that has planted over 1 million trees in collaboration with rainforest organisations. There are hundreds of businesses that help give back to the environment. 
  • 4) Look for the fair-trade logo; purchasing from indigenous people is unique in that it protects rainforests while also providing sustainable livelihoods.5) Ecotourism, or visiting communities, allows you to learn about new cultures while also directly supporting indigenous people. [3][4]  

There are small changes we can make to help, no matter how far away The Amazon is from you. Knowing what we’re buying, reading labels, and looking for fair trade signs. Using public transportation, volunteering, sharing news online, or attending protests to change widely held beliefs about deforestation. There is a bigger picture here than just financial gain. It is critical to protect the Amazon in order to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Download the WWW-My UK’s Footprint app today as an added bonus to track your choices and find alternatives to help save the rainforests.

Photo by David Riano Cortes from Pexels, free copywrite https://www.pexels.com/photo/rainforest-surrounded-by-fog-975771/
[1] Jennifer Leman, These Reasons Explain Why the Amazon Rainforest Is Important, https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/a28910396/amazon-rainforest-importance/, accessed on 25/7/22
[2] The amazon https://www.wwf.org.uk/where-we-work/amazon    accessed 25/7/22
[3] 3 ways you can help the amazon rainforest https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/ways-help-amazon-rainforestaccess 26/7/22
[4] 10 things you can do to help the rainforest  https://rainforestfoundation.org/engage/10-things-you-can-do/  accessed on 26/7/22

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