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What Malaysians can do to help the Amazon forest fire

What Malaysians can do to help the Amazon forest fire

Anne Dorall

What’s happening?

The Amazon rainforest is suffering from record-breaking wildfires that have been ongoing for weeks, with smoke being seen from space and overwhelming the city of São Paulo.

Picture credit: Twitter

How did this happen?

There are a few reasons for this year’s unusually long and massive fire.

1. Deforestation: Parts of the Amazon rainforest is being cleared to make way for cattle ranches and soy farm.

2. Agricultural burning: Existing farms often use fire to clear crop for a fresh rotation of plants.

3. Dry season: Though usually very wet and humid, the Amazon does experience a “dry season” starting in July/August. However, this year’s wildfires were exacerbated by intentional fires and a damaged undergrowth.

4. Jair Bolsonaro: Brazil’s current president is a staunch climate change-denier and has emboldened legal and illegal deforestation activities while slashing budgets for forest protection.

Virgin jungle stands next to an area that was burnt recently near Porto Velho, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019.
Picture credit: AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano

Should I be worried?

YES. The impact of these wildfires are devastating and can be felt decades after. The burnings bring the world closer and closer to the tipping point– the point of no return.

How can I help?

Firstly, realize that while you can help, you are not at fault. It’s fantastic that you want to help but you should not feel the need to carry the entire responsibility for the climate crisis.

Activists demonstrate during a protest against the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, August 23, 2019.
Picture credit: Mauro Pimentel

1. Donate: Well-established Amazon rainforest protection agencies are the best bet to fight the good fight. Check out the Amazon Conservation Team, Amazon Conservation Association, Rainforest Trust, or the Rainforest Foundation.

2. Less meat, no food waste: Opt for meat-free meals even just once or twice a week. NEVER waste your food as you waste all the resources that grows that food and decomposing food waste becomes a very significant source of methane.

3. Buy local: Skip the imported supermarket goods and go visit your nearby pasar pagi. Support produce that didn’t have to go through a whole factory packaging process and being shipped across continents, just to end up a pile of discarded plastic in the landfills.

4. Wield your power: Serve justice to those who continuously destroy the Earth, even here in Malaysia. Write in to your local representative (whose job is to serve the rakyat), call out shady companies polluting rivers, and do your part.

A protester holds a sign reading “save the forest” while attending a demonstration on August 23, 2019.
Picture credit: Adriano Machado

Every little bit helps, and at this point in time, we need every little bit we can get.


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