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The Amazon fires are a very real crisis but it's not too late to act

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24.08.2019

The headlines this week are full of images of the Amazon on fire; meanwhile, environmental groups have been attacked for using pictures of burning forests that are years out of date.

Yes, these images are causing confusion and in an era of fake news when accuracy is important, it’s right that they are being challenged. However, this discussion really is a distraction from the main issue: the Amazon is burning.

Once upon a time, Brazil achieved a dramatic reduction in rainforest destruction across a vast area, in just a few short years.

Starting in 2005, the Brazilian Government ramped up law enforcement in the Amazon, using homegrown satellite technology, operated by the Brazilian Space Agency, to pinpoint illegal clearing and fires.

Brazil’s annual loss of tropical rainforest plummeted by a remarkable 80 per cent over the following decade; to this day, it is the only country to reduce deforestation on that scale – an incredible achievement that few thought possible.

Tragically, Brazil’s new Government is now undoing those precious gains at breakneck speed. If it continues, the consequences will be catastrophic for Brazilians and for us all.

There are many reasons why protecting the Amazon rainforest is so vital: ecological, economic and the basic human rights of those who live there.

The Amazon rainforest is as large as the continental United States and by far the largest expanse of tropical rainforest in the world. To put this into perspective, it takes a full five hours to fly over the........

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