Taking these three steps can help protect the Amazon rainforest

Inverse looks back on the 2019 fires and how you can make a difference.

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In August 2019, the world’s attention was gripped by the Amazon rainforest, as clear-cutting and climate change-driven droughts set off aggressive wildfires that swept the region.

At the time, Brazilians themselves protested the lax deforestation regulations brought in by President Jair Bolsonaro — international leaders also criticized the policies. As the fires raged, people around the world began to ask why this was happening — and if there was anything they could do to help.

This is #9 on Inverse’s 20 most incredible stories about our planet from 2019.

While the regulatory concerns persist — alongside the threat of climate change — the Amazon fires are now mostly faded from the headlines. But here at Inverse, our memory is still fresh. Here are three things you can still do to help.

Vote for change

Calling out the regulations, or lack thereof, that contributed to the August fires is key, environmental advocates told Inverse at the time. That means voting for people who will put pressure on Brazil’s leaders and other politicians around the world to conserve their natural resources.

“The fires in the Amazon are the result of complicated political, financial, and social factors,” Henriette Walz, Deforestation Lead for the Rainforest Alliance, said. It’s important to consider all of these factors together — and to understand that what happens in one part of the world can affect everyone, anywhere.

“Some people say ‘oh the Amazon is far away,’ but when the farthest room in your house is burning, your house is still on fire,” Walz said.

Vote again — with your dollar

The daily purchasing decisions you make can have an affect on curbing forest destruction, too.

By supporting organizations working to protect indigenous rights and forests in Brazil — and boycotting those that don’t — it’s possible to take action when you pull out your wallet, Robin Chazdon, professor at the University of Connecticut, told Inverse.

Soy, beef, and timber from Amazon-based supply chains all potentially contribute to deforestation, Chazdon said. People in other countries like the United States and China can take a stand by making their money talk.

Support those fighting the good fight

Plenty of organizations are working for better forest protections in the Amazon, including the Rainforest Alliance and Junglekeepers.

In the wake of the fires, Rainforest Alliance pledged to redirect 100 percent of its donated funds to the groups working on the frontlines of the Brazilian Amazon, including the Brazil chapter of their Indigenous federation partner COICA, and their sustainable agriculture partner IMAFLORA.

To ensure a better outlook for the future, conservation is key, experts say. “Forests can regrow and be restored by planting following fires, but not if fires are repeated every few years and not if the land is converted to agriculture,” Chazdon says.

As 2019 draws to a close, Inverse is revisiting the year’s 20 most incredible stories about our planet. Some are gross, some are fascinating, and others are truly incredible. This has been #9. Read the original article here.

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