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Why This Matters: The Amazon is one of the world’s largest carbon sinks and a crucial tool in the fight against climate change, but now, due to deforestation, it’s emitting more carbon than it absorbs. A study in Nature released last week projected that 21%-40% of the Amazon could be lost to deforestation and fires by 2050. The Brazilian government under President Jair Bolsonaro — despite the pleas of environmentalists, Indigenous communities, and other world governments — has made attacks on forest protections and environmental regulations. Now, environmental organizations, with the support of Amazon.com Inc., are turning to the public to ensure protections for the forest.
COICA, a group representing Indigenous groups in nine Amazon-basin nations, is urging the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to endorse its Amazonia for Life 80% by 2025 declaration. The group hopes that an endorsement at the ongoing World Conservation Congress in Marseille will catapult the declaration on to COP15. “We invite the global community to join us to reverse the destruction of our home and by doing so safeguard the future of the planet,” Jose Gregorio Diaz Mirabal, the lead coordinator for COICA, told Reuters.
Meanwhile, the Nature Conservancy and Amazon.com are taking their own approach to establish protections. Their initiative will provide sustainable income to Amazonian farmers in Brazil’s state of Pará, which has been losing 3,300 acres of forest per day for the last year, to discourage them from clearing land for increased agriculture. The effort will support 3,000 farmers and hopes to restore 49,400 acres of forest in the next 3 years.
Amazon has pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2040, but progress so far has been slow. The company’s carbon footprint has risen each year since it began disclosing its emissions in 2018. Still, it says this project could become much more. “I view it as a scaling vehicle,” says James Mulligan, a senior scientist at Amazon.com Inc. “What we’re trying to achieve in the project is basically how this region needs to transform if we’re going to stabilize the forest.”
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Earlier this year, Ecuador’s new President Guillermo Lasso issued decrees to expand oil and mining projects in the Amazon. Indigenous communities from the country’s rainforest are now suing the government in an effort to stop these projects, calling them a “policy of death,” according to reporting by Reuters. Community […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The giant sequoia trees in California’s Sequoia National Park are over 1,000 years old and could live another 2,000 years, but climate change-fueled fires are killing them. The trees can usually withstand the flames, but the intensity of recent fires has been overpowering. Last year’s Castle Fire killed up […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer A new assessment found that at least 30% of the world’s 60,000 tree species are nearing extinction in the wild. The number of tree species threatened— 17,500— is twice that of threatened mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles combined. Why this Matters: Trees are crucial to maintaining the earth’s ecosystems. Trees not […]
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