The Amazon rainforest produces 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen. For the past few weeks, large-scale fires have raged throughout the northwest of Brazil but the world’s media has not reported on it extensively. Now, using the hashtag #PrayForAmazonia celebrities have weighed in on the lack of news coverage, urging us all to care as the fires continue to spread.
Taking to Instagram, Cara Delevingne described the rainforest as “one of the most important ecosystems on earth.” Like Delevingne, many others have reposted a photo and caption that originated with investor and self-described environmentalist Nick Rose Dertsas.
This year alone Brazil has had more than 72,000 fires across the country. According to the National Institute for Space Research, it’s an 84 percent increase on the same period in 2018. Disturbingly, more than half were in the Amazon. It’s another reason why celebrities – such as Madonna and Zoë Kravitz – are not letting it go unnoticed. “The fires are raging and the Amazonia continues to burn,” Madonna tweeted on August 22. While Zoë Kravitz called it “truly crazy, the lack of coverage, care and respect for our mother.”
London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said the fires were being “aided and abetted by the Brazilian government”. And that the fire in the rainforest was “an act of shocking environmental vandalism with global consequences”. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio shared the Rainforest Alliance’s post on Instagram: “The lungs of the Earth are in flames. The Brazilian Amazon — home to one million Indigenous people and three million species — has been burning for more than two weeks straight,” he wrote. “Scientists and conservationists attribute the accelerating deforestation to President Jair Bolsonaro, who issued an open invitation to loggers and farmers to clear the land after taking office in January.” The actor proceeded to highlight ways in which people can help going forward from donating to frontline Amazon groups working to defend the forest to being a conscious consumer and becoming a regular supporter of the Rainforest Alliance’s community forestry initiatives across the world.