The largest forest in the world has been burning for 16 days straight, with no respite in sight and this fire might be the single most devastating natural calamity that affects the fight against climate change adversely. The Amazon rainforest has been dubbed the ‘lungs of the earth’ due to its contribution in producing 20 percent of the world’s oxygen. The fact that the Amazon region saw more than 35000 fires erupt this year – an 80 percent increase since this time last year – should be a cause for alarm.

The rainforest was once immune to forest fires because of the humidity within the forest, but changing environmental conditions have led to this catastrophe without an end in sight. Increased droughts, decreasing forest cover and man-made fires to illegally make space for farmland has led to an increased propensity for fires to break out. The only way to control this is if the Brazilian government takes an active role in looking to find a solution. However, the Bolsanaro administration in Brazil has only exacerbated the problem which is why relying on the government to step in might be misplaced.

Sao Paulo, a city more than 2700 kilometres away, saw the sun completely blotted out by a plume of smoke from the fires in the forest, which blocked any view of the sky above. This should tell us the magnitude of the problem. There are solutions, but with the Brazil government not stepping in, any move to stop the devastation of the Amazon will require international efforts. The international community must gather and censure the Brazilian government for its callous treatment of a global asset. This forest, currently being destroyed for petty short-term gain is something we must protect for future generations, if humanity as a whole is to survive on this earth. Let us hope that the powers that be take this destruction seriously.