BRAZIL, 2019

An aerial view of smoke rising from an area of Amazon forest burning near Porto Velho, Rondônia state

Marcelino

© Reuters / Ueslei Marcelino

 

Watching an Amazon forest fire from above is like watching paper burning. Our planet has always had an enormous capacity for regeneration, and life has always found ways to return and flourish. Not without negative consequences for the planet’s inhabitants, of course, on whom the devastation of habitat weighs most heavily. Though we are used to considering our Blue Planet as strong and resilient in time, the equilibriums that bind together the life forms we know today are complex and just as delicate as a piece of paper: destroying even a small part can trigger consequences at all levels, above and below. The speed with which we are polluting our ecosystem and consuming its resources may not leave nature enough time to find a new equilibrium. The Amazon has already been deforested by 15% compared to its original size, but such rapid destruction is no longer sustainable. We risk losing not only a complex system of atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange and a high percentage of plant and animal biodiversity, but also the many indigenous tribes who still live in and depend on the forest, each with their own traditions, language and knowledge: a truly precious heritage of cultural and historical identity.

Jessica Marzaro