September 3, 2020, marked the annual Amazon Rainforest Day. But not nearly as much attention is paid as there should be. Not only is this an amazingly beautiful locale, but it provides so much for the world.
Unfortunately, it may only be a matter of time before the largest forest in the world is reduced to nothing more than an agricultural landscape.
What Does the Amazon Rainforest Do for the World?
The Amazon is more than just a pretty landmass. It’s home to wide variety of life, and a vast portion of all species on the planet.
But, it also provides a lot of practical elements for the world as a whole.
Oxygenates the Planet…Yes or No?
There’s debate about how much oxygen is actually produced by the Amazon Rainforest. According to PBS, the balance is even between production and consumption.
However, there is a bit more involved than what some “experts” claim. For one thing, I haven’t seen a single study pointing out the lack of rain and the impact it makes to organic life for consuming and producing oxygen.
I also can’t find scientific evidence to support that the consumption of the rainforest is close to the amount it produces. Just a lot of interviews and hearsay.
In the case of the Amazon, less forest equates to a lower yield of water. You can see this when comparing a map of areas that are rainy compared to the geographic location of forests.
In fact, it’s something you can compare in North America as well. More trees helps sustain average rainfall…well, in most cases anyway.
Reduces Carbon in the Atmosphere
During ideal times, rainforests such as the Amazon help by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is a result of photosynthesis. And when you have that many trees scrubbing the sky, it makes a difference.
Unfortunately, the recent fires and logging efforts have made 20% of the Amazon Rainforest basin a carbon source, rather than a sink.
In reality, the impact of smoke and CO2 emissions can be felt for hundreds of miles away from the fires. And because of the efforts of illegal burning and clearing for agricultural use, the Amazon can change from a lush rainforest into a savanna by 2050.
Provides Various Medicines, Including Anti-Cancers
There’s no doubt that plants have played the majority role in medicines and cures for various ailments. And the Amazon Rainforest contributes greatly to many of these.
For instance, drugs to treat leukemia, glaucoma, and even cancers are all readily available. And new discoveries are being made all the time.
Unfortunately, there’s no telling what cures may have come before the fires began.
A rare plant could have contributed to immortality!
Well, that’s probably not a realistic outcome. But, there is a bit of truth to not knowing what advancements we could have made with the materials that literally went up in smoke in 2019.
Feeds A Lot of People, World-Wide
The Amazon Rainforest contributes to a wide scope of common foods that many of us take for granted. One of which I can’t really make it through my day without: coffee.
Luckily, most rainforests produce a variety of foods. So, it’s unlikely that some of these will disappear entirely should the Amazon cease to exist.
But, it will vastly affect the price of those foods.
The Amazon Rainforest is in Serious Trouble
In 2019, the Amazon Rainforest surpassed a whopping 74,000 fires in Brazil. The smoke is such that it can literally be seen from space. And this year doesn’t prove to be any better.
The problem is leadership and resolve.
It doesn’t matter how many people tweet about #AmazonRainforestDay. If leadership is in denial for preservation, nothing is going to be done.
Then again, this is true with anything in life.
Perhaps one day, when South America is reduced to a savanna, governments will decide to take action. But until then, there’s really no practical way to save the forest from the damage governments are allowing.
Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.