Wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest hit a record number this year, with 72,843 fires detected so far by Brazil’s space research center INPE. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro invited fury by accusing non-governmental organisations of burning down the Amazon rainforest to hurt his government.
Since Thursday last, INPE said that satellite images spotted 9,507 new forest fires in the country, mostly in the Amazon basin. A social media outrage has begun against the wildfires with some on Twitter saying, “we don’t deserve this world”.
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Reports of climate change, microplastics in the Arctic and melting ice sheets in Greenland have reminded Twitter that the world is burning, and it’s burning fast.
Amazon Watch, a nonprofit organisation that protects the rainforest, said that the Amazon rainforest has been on fire for three weeks. Some Twitter users outraged over the minimal media coverage to the incident.
What else happened recently?
— A significant amount of microplastics particles have been detected in the Arctic. A new study, by scientists in Germany, found that microplastic particles can be transported tremendous distances through the atmosphere, according to AFP.
“We found a lot of microplastics, like record concentrations, and the question arose: From where does the microplastic originate?” Gunnar Gerdts, senior author and marine microbiologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, told Los Angeles Times of the Arctic snow.
There were only two suspects, he added, “It’s from the water or from the air.”
— Greenland, as this CNN report points out, lost 12.5 billion tons of ice to melting on 2 August. It was the largest single-day loss in recorded history. Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist with the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) also tweeted that Greenland lost 197 billion metric tons of ice in July.
Petteri Taalas, the secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, according to Huffpost, issued a statement about the melting.
“This is not science fiction,” he said. “It is the reality of climate change. It is happening now and it will worsen in the future without urgent climate action.”
What are we doing?
Humans are consuming more resources than the Earth can replenish. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. This year the date was 29 July.
According to this Huffpost article, we are using up nature 1.75 times faster than it can be replenished.
Plastic is being burnt at an alarming rate in low-and-middle-income countries, according to a report by Tearfund, Fauna & Flora International, WasteAid and The Institute of Development Studies.
A report by the Center for International Environmental Law, according to this Huffpost article, warned that if demand for plastics continues to rise, the material’s contribution to climate change will grow significantly.
The emissions from plastic will reach the equivalent of nearly 300 coal plants in 2030 and over 600 in 2050, the authors estimate.
(With Reuters inputs)