The Amazon’s Burning Future


Alli Zier, Spear/Xtra

What is the world’s biggest rainforest ranging at a staggering 2.72 million square miles? What is home to the world’s largest river by volume? If you said the Amazon Rainforest, then you are correct! Mongabay, a project that helps people learn about rainforests, says that about ⅔ of the rainforest is found in Brazil and home to 16,000 tree species, 2.5 million species of insects, and thousands of more animals. 


Why is the Amazon Rainforest so Important?

The Amazon is a vital carbon reservoir for the planet. With so many plants and animals, there is an estimated 90 to 140 billion metric tons of carbon embedded in this forest according to Vox News. If the forest is destroyed, a decades worth of greenhouse gasses would be admitted into the atmosphere, therefore the Earth would heat up very quickly. The Amazon is as well responsible for recycling 50-70% of annual rainfall back into the atmosphere. Along with climate importance, the Amazon is home to 350 indigenous and ethnic groups (as well as millions of animal species) that depend on the nature of the rainforest to survive, according to The Wildlife Foundation. 


What is Happening to the Forest?

Many unfortunate things are happening to the forest including deforestation and multiple giant wildfires Since this region is normally full of moisture, especially during this current non-drought region, the fire is likely caused by humans. The Washington Post mentions that since January, an estimated 1,330 square miles of canopy has been lost, a supposed  39 percent increase since the same time period just last year. In July alone, an area larger than the city of Los Angeles was lost. As for deforestation, 70% of it is due to cattle ranching, and  yet more and more of the forest is being cleared each year.  


Environmental Risks at Arapahoe

Arapahoe is not the most environmentally friendly area. With loads of energy and water wasted, trash littered, and food thrown out, Arapahoe could be more environmentally friendly. For example, Arapahoe does not have a schoolwide recycling program. While some teachers opt to create their own separate bins for recycling, not every classroom is required to do this. Recycling is a very vital part of not only helping our environment, but our economy as well. Recycling helps create healthy habits for when we are adults, it helps reduce fossil fuels, and creates job opportunities. Want to know more? Read more about the benefits or recycling in schools here. 


What are some of your thoughts and ideas for helping the Amazon as well as Arapahoe? Comment down below!