The Amazon Rainforest is burning at a pace that hasn't been seen in more than a decade. More than 39,000 wildfires have been documented so far this year, a 77% increase from the year before.
In recent weeks, wildfires have poured so much smoke into the air that Sao Paulo’s sky — thousands of miles away from the nearest conflagration — has turned charcoal, blotting out the afternoon sun.
The fires have largely been set by farmers, cattle drivers, and henchmen for other industries who want to raze huge chunks of the forest to expand their businesses, according to the Intercept. Farmers want to plant crops like soybean, cattle drivers want to let their livestock graze, and the mining industry, for example, wants to build roads to transport minerals.
Setting the Amazon ablaze is an easy and quick way to achieve their goals; it’s also recklessly endangering the planet.
The Amazon provides oxygen for the planet, houses millions of different species, regulates massive planetary systems, and buffers countries against the ravages of climate change. Its destruction would accelerate the decline of wildlife around the world and could unravel the efforts that have been made in the global fight against extreme poverty. All of the United Nations Global Goals, for that matter, would be endangered by its loss.
The industrial interests destroying the Amazon have the support of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, who came into office promising to end regulations that shield the forest and also strip Indigenous people who protect the forest of their rights.
The destruction of the Amazon is not inevitable and there are countless organizations working to protect its unrivalled ecological splendor.
Here are seven organizations you can donate to that are working to save the Amazon.
1. Amazon Watch
Amazon Watch fights the destruction of the Amazon, supports Indigenous rights, and finds climate justice solutions.
It also happens to be Lil Nas X’s charity of choice for saving the Amazon.
Amazon Conservation Team works hand-in-hand with Indigenous leaders to ensure the long-term welfare of the Amazon Rainforest.
Amazon Conservation Association has trained hundreds of conservationists who work to support the restoration of the Amazon Rainforest and sustainable Indigenous-led economies. The organization has planted more than 275,000 trees to date.
There is no protecting the Amazon without Indigenous communities leading the way. Survival International recognizes this imperative and works to amplify the voices of Indigenous leaders.
The International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs focuses on protecting Indigenous cultures, which always includes an environment-first approach.
The Rainforest Action Network “preserves forests, protects the climate, and upholds human rights by challenging corporate power and systemic injustice through frontline partnerships and strategic campaigns.”
The Rainforest Trust has saved more than 23 million acres of the Amazon Rainforest since 1988 by funding projects that restore and protect ecosystems.