On August 1st, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, signed legislation that will create a fund to promote the preservation of Brazilian rain forests. The fund will solicit donations from world leaders to help in the fight against deforestation and destruction of the Amazon rain forests. By creating this fund, Brazil has acknowledged that the Amazon region is vital in curbing climate change and the extinction of many valuable plants and animals. The fund hopes to raise as much as $21 billion by 2021.
Deforestation of the Amazon by logging and burning is estimated to release 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air every year. The problem is compounded as vital ecosystems are destroyed that help to remove harmful pollutants from the atmosphere. Until now, the Brazilian government has been reluctant to equate the destruction of these forests to climate change.
Not only is the Amazon important to filtering pollutants from the air we breath, it houses species of plants and animals that are used to create lifesaving drugs. Currently, almost 25% of western prescription drugs use derivatives of plants found within rain forests. Every day, logging and rain forest destruction is responsible for the elimination of specimens that may have held clues to fighting disease.
Recent attempts by the Brazilian government are showing signs of progress in combating the problems that face the Amazon region. Besides the creation of this fund, Brazil has increased the number of officers deployed to forest areas to combat illegal logging. Businesses and citizens now are being forced to appeal any environmental fines within 1 year instead of the 8 years previously granted.
The Amazon and other rain forests, are important to every being living today. With over half of the world’s 10 million species of plants, animals, and insects residing in the rain forest, the wealth of the rain forest is our lifeline to future cures, and technologies. By destroying this dense area, the future of the earth remains uncertain. It is the responsibility of every nation to help preserve the forests of the Amazon and secure our number one atmospheric filter. Important animals, plants, and foods cannot survive without the help of nations who are actively promoting the preservation of this great area.