Today, 5 September is Amazon Day. This day, first commemorated in 1850, is supposed to be a celebration of the wonder and splendour of one of the most biodiverse places on our planet. Unfortunately, the Amazon rainforest has been in the news recently for the wrong reasons.
With its vast area of 7 million square kilometres (2,700,000 sq mi), five million of which are covered by forest, the Amazon today is one of humanity’s most precious natural heritage. This bio-geographic domain spreads out over 60% of Brazil’s total land surface and parts of it extend into nine South American countries – Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela and French Guyana. An estimated 33 million people inhabit the Amazon basin.
The Amazon is the home of an infinite number of animal and plant species. An incredible one in ten known species in the world lives in the Amazon rainforest. It is also a vitally important regulator of the global climate patterns and is a rich source of nutritional, medicinal, mineral and other forest-based raw materials.
Sadly the Amazon is nevertheless under serious threat from predatory human activities such as logging, mining, infrastructure construction and the conversion of standing forest into areas of pasture or cropland. This is even more abundantly clear in the light of the recent devastating and disastrous forest fires.
There is a lot you can do to help the Amazon and other rainforests over the globe. Firstly, take a deep breath! Rainforests are the lungs of our planet; breathe deeply and thank the rainforests. Secondly, talk about it – with everyone from family to friends and colleagues. Get the word out that the Amazon literally needs every one of us, just like we need it! You can, of course, contribute to local and global organisations that preserve the Amazon and other rainforests. These include Amazon Aid Foundation, Amazon Frontlines, Amazon Watch, and many others. Furthermore, choose products that use alternative sources of ingredients that don’t come from deforestation of the Amazon.
We here at Nature Travel Conservation are trying to spread the word about nature conservation in general, as well as specifically for the Amazon today. Go to www.naturetravelconservation.com to see what we are all about.