Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
Pope Francis has said that if there is universal commitment to put the Amazon Rainforest fires, they ‘might be contained as soon as possible.’
The Pope made these comments during the Angelus today, responding to the news of fires raging across the large swathes of Amazon flora.
He stressed, ‘That forest lung is vital for our planet.’
According to Brazilian experts, there were around 77,000 wildfires reported across Brazil so far this year. That was 85% increase on 2018. Over of the reported fires were found in the Amazon region.
Around 44,000 Brazilian troops have been deployed to the region to contain fires within what are commonly referred to as the planet’s ‘lungs’.
Save the lungs of the world
The Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM) have already shown their concerns about the fires.
CELAM called on the governments of countries affected as well as the wider international community and the United Nations to actively work to ‘save the lungs of the world.’
Quoting from Pope Francis’ homily, CELAM said that representatives should be ‘custodians of creation, of God’s design inscribed in nature, guardians of the other, of the environment.’
Their apocalyptic tone extends with calling them to, ‘not allow the signs of destruction and death accompany the path of this in our world… if the Amazon suffers, the world suffers.’
Blame game and unprecedented scenes
The country’s President Jair Bolsonaro has said he is committed to putting out the fires and has blamed their eruption on NGOs starting them to level criticism against his government. Other observers state that the President has been encouraging ranchers and loggers to turn parts of the rainforest into agricultural and ranching land.
Environmentalists have in turn blamed the President for the fires.
Professor Emeritus Robin Chazdon of the University of Connecticut says that although fires are a natural part of the rainforest’s changes, ‘What we’re seeing is a really unprecedented deliberate setting of fires to clear land for agricultural use.’
She added that, ‘The forests in Amazonia, and those include countries outside of Brazil, constitute about 25 percent of the carbon sink globally. And that’s why losing this carbon to the atmosphere has such enormous consequences for global warming’
Deforestation of the Amazon currently stands at 15%. Should that reach 20 – 25%, there is the real possibility that the environment will struggle to sustain ecosystems and they will dramatically change for the worse.
A fifth of the planet’s oxygen comes from the Amazon forest.