Article by Joseph P. Kauffman
The fires that devastate the Amazon rainforest are mainly due to climate change and a bad management of the Bolsonaro government of environmental policies. Scientists predict that we will exceed 1.5 degrees of global warming by 2030, the consequences of fires in the Amazon affect us all on the planet. But what is behind this, what responsibility can we assume and what can we do to change it?
1. Active boycott of companies that destroy the environment
Climate change is due to over-exploitation of natural ecosystems; a consumption model that puts economic growth above life itself. Timber, mining, and livestock companies that threaten the Amazon only exist because there are people who buy their products and support the growth of these industries. If we stop purchasing products from large corporations, as well as the companies that get their supply from these corporations, we will cease to financially support their destructive ways. Economic markets depend on supply and demand. If we demand sustainably and ethically produced products, not polluted with toxins or chemicals, and we only purchase products that meet these criteria, then other companies will have to keep up with the demand or risk going out of business. We really do have power with the money we spend and the companies we invest it. We just have to truly be responsible for what we invest in, and educate ourselves on the companies that we are supporting.
2. Change our way of eating
Economic growth over life is based on an economy of consumption and waste. We go through billions of disposable water bottles and plastic containers, our food is produced in large industrial slaughterhouses and monocultures of food crops, and most of us are completely unaware of where our food come from. We must stop eating foods that are grown with chemicals and pesticides—for our own health and the health of the planet. Educate yourself on where your food is coming from and say no to industrial food production. Learn to grow your own food and support local food producers.
3. Stop buying meat from large corporations
Cattle ranching is the largest driver of deforestation in every Amazon country, accounting for 80% of current deforestation rates. By purchasing meat from large corporations we are supporting the destruction of nature. Perhaps one of the greatest things we can do to protect the Amazon rainforest is to stop supporting these industries and their practices.
4. Only have what is necessary for a decent life
The economic model in which we live is based on excessive consumption: buy, throw away, buy more. If we can be content with simplicity, and not mindlessly buy products we don’t need, we can greatly reduce our ecological footprint. Clothes, cell phones, and cars have a limited shelf life for you to discard and buy a new one soon—this is known as planned obsolescence, and it helps companies ensure you will continue to purchase their products. Acquire only what is necessary, and strive to use technology that you can repair yourself. Happiness does not depend on material objects, and if we can realize this, we will be less inclined to purchase material objects we don’t need, especially when we see how they are impacting the environment.
5. Change to eco-governments
It is not left or right, governments that support companies that destroy the environment and are sustained by the destruction of nature, are leading us to planetary collapse. Oil, mining, energy, timber, water privatization—these are businesses that benefit few and affect the majority. No government that proposes destructive policies should remain.
6. Discover more harmonious ways of existing
How can we live without destroying nature? How can our daily actions lead us closer to nature and not further from it? What can we really do to be of service to the earth and its inhabitants? Planting trees, growing our own food, protecting natural environments, restoring damaged ecosystems—all of these are amazing ways to benefit nature, but only if we actually do them. We can’t just rely on governments and corporations to make the change. We ourselves have to find ways to lead more harmonious and sustainable lives. If each of us do this, we can have a huge global impact.
7. Support environmental conservation groups
If you have the ability to, donate to organizations that are serving the protection of nature. If you are really inspired, start your own ecological movement. We need as many people as we can to get involved and take action.
8. Be responsible for your actions
At the root of all environmental destruction, lies a lack of responsibility among human beings. We do not take responsibility for ourselves, for our impact on nature, for how we produce and harvest our food, for our garbage and waste, and for how our actions affect the life around us. Because of this, we have allowed our food to be produced by corporations that don’t care for our health or the health of the planet. We have allowed for the planet to be polluted by our garbage and waste, rather than learning how to live a zero-waste lifestyle or how to compost our waste and return it to the earth. If we all took responsibility for ourselves, we would no longer support companies that destroy nature, and we could personally take action to protect and serve this beautiful earth that gives us life.