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Will We Survive If We Lose the Amazon Rainforest?

Will We Survive If We Lose the Amazon Rainforest?

The Amazon Rainforest is big news right now
as fires continue to consume its lush landscape. It’s essential to our planet’s climate,
ecosystem, and more. If we do nothing, the Amazon could be gone
within 100 years. What would that mean for us? 1. We’d miss out on important medicine. A lot of the ingredients in our modern medicines
come from the plants of the Amazon. These include the most important medications,
such as essential vaccines. Many of the plants of the Amazon are still
being studied today with the hope of finding ingredients that will cure some of our most
serious diseases. If all the plants are wiped out, we could
lose our chance at advancing our field of medicine. 2. The economy of South America would be ruined. The Amazon Rainforest covers about 40% of
South America, covering 8 countries. If it was suddenly gone, a lot of South America’s
exports and businesses would disappear with it. Millions of people depend on the Amazon basin
for their income. It would certainly be devastating for South
American people; it would also seriously damage the global trade route, which would impact
the whole world! 3. The world would lose oxygen. The Amazon is referred to as “the planet’s
lungs” for a reason. Our planet gets 20% of its oxygen from this
Rainforest, due to its massive size. If the fires continue, not only will we lose
that huge oxygen source, but extra pollution will be released. Fires cause carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide,
and other nasty gases and toxins to run rampant through the environment. Normally, all the Amazon’s trees would do
the cleanup for us, given that all trees convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. But without them, we’d be at the mercy of
those toxins. 4. There’d be a huge loss of wildlife. Covering just over 2 million square miles,
the Amazon is home to 30% of our planet’s wildlife. It’s also home to some animals that can’t
be found anywhere else. We’d be losing important biodiversity, which
refers to the variety of life in an ecosystem. Why is biodiversity so important? It prevents extinction and allows plants and
animals to keep evolving and adapting. If there’s no biodiversity, it could wipe
out an entire ecosystem. 5. It would speed up global climate change. Fires are actually normal in the Amazon during
the dry season—they’ve just never been this out of control before. To cope with the fires of the dry season,
the Rainforest came up with its own toxin storage system, helped along by the huge number
of trees. If all the trees were gone, that storage system
would no longer work, and those toxins would heat up the atmosphere. This would disrupt the atmospheric circulation,
placing that heat where it’s not supposed to be; like in the Arctic, melting glaciers. 6. The Rainforest would become a carbon source. Let’s unpack that storage system a little
more. The Amazon’s trees absorb carbon dioxide,
a primary greenhouse gas. Greenhouses gases are able to trap and reflect
the sun’s radiation back to Earth. Scientists say that about 86 billion tons
of carbon dioxide are embedded in the Amazon. If all the trees are burned, instead of storing
carbon dioxide, it’ll be released, affecting the climate, atmosphere, and air quality on
a global scale. 7. There would be a loss of natural resources. In addition to oxygen and medicinal plants,
we’d also lose a substantial supplier of minerals, fresh water, and food. As far as minerals go, we’d lose a primary
source of gold, silver, tin, copper, and zinc. As for that essential water, the Amazon River
provides 20% of the world’s fresh water from its 1,100 tributaries. And, if you love your hot cup of coffee in
the morning? Well … If the Amazon were destroyed, you
can kiss your morning joe goodbye, in addition to fruits, rice, and CHOCOLATE, just to name
a few. 8. Soil Erosion
We don’t usually give soil a lot of thought, but it can actually cause a lot of damage
when it moves around! Soil is held in place by plants; mainly by
the roots of trees. If there are no trees to hold it in place,
storms and winds can push it around, polluting water, and even causing dangerous mudslides. The soil could also clog irrigation structures,
causing a big problem for farmers. And it could potentially cause a loss of electricity. 9. We could start seeing a cycle of more fires. The Rainforest can repair itself and grow
again after a normal forest fire, given that enough young trees survive. But if the saplings don’t survive, the smoke
and other gases from the fire will dry the air out for miles. Also, a healthy Rainforest can produce its
own rain, making any burned and damaged areas lush again. If the compromised Amazon can no longer do
this, coupled with the dry air, fires will pop up everywhere, even long distances away. There won’t be anything to naturally stop
the fires or repair the damage, as evolution intended. 10. Unpredictable drought and rainfall patterns. Science has shown that rainforests, in general,
influence the climate both globally and locally. If we get into this scary, unending cycle
of the Amazon Rainforest not being able to generate rain, getting dry, and causing widespread
fires, droughts would be inevitable. It would still rain, but it’d be less often,
and without help from the Rainforest. It would be difficult to estimate when the
next rain will come, making life unpredictable for plants, animals, and farmers. 11. We could see disastrous floods. I’ve talked a lot about fires and droughts,
so this one might not make sense, but stay with me. Yes, there would be less rainfall; but without
the trees and plants of the Rainforest to absorb excess water, a random heavy rainfall
could result in large amounts of flooding. This doesn’t go for just the Amazon River,
either; any body of water would be at risk. Unhealthy soil would add to the disaster:
excessive rain + unanchored soil=mudslide. Farmland and homes would be overcome with
rain and mud. 12. Overcrowded cities. As I mentioned earlier, the Amazon Rainforest
spans across 8 countries in South America. All of this disaster would affect the rural
population first—meaning the 30 million people that live outside the cities. Rural people will be forced into the cities,
which are already home to millions. This will cause overcrowding, which comes
with its own problems: possible rises in crime, low job availability resulting in increased
poverty, and a higher risk of disease. 13. Change in landscape
If the Amazon Rainforest totally collapses, what was once healthy green rainforest will
look and feel more like the Sahara Desert. The climate will be dry, and certainly wouldn’t
support the same wildlife as before. Where there were once trees and colorful tropical
flowers, there would be flat, dusty desert or savannah. 14. Hours of Daytime Darkness
Even now, the amount of smoke from the fires is causing some areas of South America to
experience periods of darkness during the daytime, particularly in Brazil. The smoke can even be seen from space! In fact, more than 72,000 fires in the Amazon
have been seen from space since January. The resulting smoke is capable of stretching
thousands of miles. There were 1,700 miles between the fires and
the location of the blackout! • A little bit more about deforestation… Forest fires aren’t the only thing responsible
for destroying the Amazon Rainforest. Other forms of deforestation include logging
and adding infrastructure, like more roads, to growing cities. Stricter laws are being put in place in an
attempt to curb deforestation of any type and save the Amazon. • Is there anything we can do?? Yes, we’re not at the point of no return
yet. There are a lot of websites set up to help
you learn more about the Amazon and donate to the cause if you want. Some of them are pretty fun—they might let
you donate to “plant a tree in the Amazon” or “adopt a sloth!” There are easy things you can do at home,
in addition to educating yourself, that will make a difference! Be sure to recycle. Use those stainless-steel straws. Try to waste less paper. Know where your food comes from and how it
gets to your table. There are lots of ways to help, even if donating
isn’t an option. Hey, if you learned something new, give this
video a like and share it with a friend! Here are some more videos I think you’ll
enjoy. Just click to the left or right and stay on
the Bright Side of life!

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