That the time to act is now.

By Vivian Morellon


The Brazilian Amazon is burning at a rate 80% faster than last year. That means 72,843 fires this year – a record rate. 

So what happened? This (substantial) increase in wildfires is actually related to human activity, like cattle ranchers and loggers who want to clear the land for business. It comes as no surprise given that Brazil’s newly appointed president, Jair Bolsonaro’s campaign called for opening exploiting the Amazon for business  his gain. 
Home to indigenous tribes and 20% of the world’s oxygen, no one can afford to do more business at the expense of the Amazon. Better said, of any remaining natural resources. Why?

Global greenhouse gas emissions show no signs of stopping.

Greenhouse gas emission are made up of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), and Fluorinated gases (F-gases) but in this article I will be talking about Carbon dioxide – the major player in GHG.

Carbon dioxide gets a bad rap since it plays a role in climate change and air pollution, but this is only partially true. The problem isn’t CO2; the problem is too much CO2 in the wrong place, and it didn’t get there overnight. This excess in CO2 is the result of human-related, degenerative practices such as burning fossil fuel, single-crop agriculture, livestock production, etc. 

We’re producing too much of it at an alarming rate, resulting in the harmful excess in our atmosphere.

But Carbon is not the enemy; in fact Carbon is the basis of life. It is impossible for life on Earth to exist without it since it is the main component of sugars, proteins, fats, DNA, muscle tissue etc. 

Being the basis of life, you’d think we would have invented a solution for putting that excess carbon to good use.

Well, I’m here to remind you that Nature gave us the solution already.

 Let’s go back to middle school science. Remember photosynthesis?

We all have working knowledge on how it works, but let’s revise.

Green plants pull carbon dioxide from the air and together with water and sunlight, break down carbon and use it to make simple sugars. Plants push those sugars through their roots where microorganisms and fungal networks use them to build healthy topsoil. 

Fertile topsoil is nutrient dense and promotes root growth and plant diversity, resulting in a balanced ecosystem that also retains and cleans water underground – making plants resilient to drought and desertification.

“Every 1% increase in soil organic matter (mostly carbon) represents an additional 20,000 gallons of water per acre held in the ground.”

Judith D. Schwartz

In conclusion: Plants pull carbon in from the air >  carbon feeds organisms > healthy soils grows > more water, more food, clean air.

Photo courtesy of Kiss The Ground

But the reverse is also true: if we cut down trees, we not only lose our world’s natural air filtration system but we also weaken and expose the land to desertification and wildfires. 

Think about it, when it rains on barren land the water sits atop, muddying the dirt and then evaporating into the air. This is poor water management and the reason why decertified lands stay decertified: there is no plant life or healthy soil to pull down the water into the ground and keep it there.

This year, Brazil has cleared out more land for pro-agrobusiness than in the last three years combined. And pro-agro doesn’t mean pro-environment.

Now that the Amazon’s wildfires have put a global spotlight on the issue, it is up to us to understand what we can do to avoid it in the future.

Now, as heroic as re-sharing a post to your instagram is (I’m guilty of this too), the sentiment is lost without action.

Here’s what you can do to actually make a difference. 

  • In regards to the current Amazon Wildfires, donate to organizations that protect and conserve the Amazonian Rainforest:
  • Collectively, we can all play a part in reducing the release of Fossil Carbon. There are many ways to this but here are some ideas:
    • Carpool or choose clean transportation.Opt out of fast fashion.Reduce your use of plastic – it’s made of petroleum and doesn’t biodegrade. Ew. Eat and shop local food. Shop organic. Unplug your devices when you’re not using them. Money saving tips with Vivian. 
  • Plant trees and plants in your homes – make sure they are native so they thrive off their natural climate. 
  • Compost! The breakdown of organic matter is a key player in building soil. Donate it at a farmers market or designate it to an area of your garden – your plants will thank you.
  • Support carbon farming and farmers who use regenerative agriculture. 
  • Collectively, we can all play a part in reducing the release of Fossil Carbon. There are many ways to this but here are some ideas:
    • Carpool or choose clean transportation.Opt out of fast fashion.Reduce your use of plastic – it’s made of petroleum and doesn’t biodegrade. Ew. Eat and shop local food. Shop organic. Unplug your devices when you’re not using them. Money saving tips with Vivian. 
  • Plant trees and plants in your homes – make sure they are native so they thrive off their natural climate. 
  • Compost! The breakdown of organic matter is a key player in building soil. Donate it at a farmers market or designate it to an area of your garden – your plants will thank you.
  • Support carbon farming and farmers who use regenerative agriculture. 
  • Stay informed about the companies/practices you support!
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