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  • Writer's pictureReece Bithrey

I'm By No Means An Eco-Mentalist, But Surely We Need To Do Something About The Amazon?

(Picture Credit - Washington Post)

Let's get real for a moment. The Amazon Rainforest is on the brink of irreversible damage. So, why the hell aren't we doing anything about it? Or, at the very least, why isn't the damage being reported on a wider scale? To me, it's mind-boggling. Let's take a look into it.

Climate change is a huge issue, let's make no bones about it, and the works of activists like Greta Thunberg is absolutely admirable. The problems being caused worldwide at the moment are devastating, according to various outlets and countless social media users reposting pictures under the hashtag of #PrayForAmazonas. It's a huge problem and the amount of forest fires this year alone is more than double that in 2013.

Forest fires in the Amazon are commonplace during its dry season, running from July to October and can be caused by both man-made and natural occurrences, such as farmers clearing land for crops or by lighting strikes. The rise in forest fires, to activists, is down to incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro's anti-environment rhetoric, with some going as far to say that he's sanctioning and sponsoring the fires to further this rhetoric.

Whilst there's a large degree of truth in what's being said, some of it just doesn't add up. In delving a little deeper, some of these pictures that are being masqueraded as problems with the Amazon are decades old and not true to the cause. Are the a genuine cry for help on Instagram or Snapchat stories in an attempt to rally support, or just a chance for people to repost a picture and appear like they 'care' or so they're 'on trend'? The Amazon fires evoke the same sentiments as the Sudan crisis problems from a few months back, with the changing of profile pictures and banners to a certain shade of blue in order to show support for the tragic events happening.

Personally speaking, it's a mixed bag. I'm sure that the majority of people engaging in these reposts are doing it for all the right reasons and indeed, I fully support them in all their endeavours. However, the problem is most likely the minority ruining it for the majority. Regardless of whatever the issue may be, there's always a certain sector of the population that see it fit to jump onto the bandwagon, not actually caring about the arisen problem and going along with it so they can seem more popular than they perhaps are. With all due respect, it's sly.

The main gripe I've really got is the perpetuation of decades-old pictures in reference to an on-going crisis. If you'll excuse the unintended pun, these things can spread like wildfire. Beneath all of the genuine hard work that a great deal of people are putting in in order to raise awareness, it seems like nobody in this repost chain has taken a step back and fact-checked what they're putting onto their profile. Sharing decades-old pictures is a little fraudulent personally, as it detracts from the major issues that are taking place as that Instagram post caption is being typed - "OMG! The Amazon Rainforest is #burning! We need to act fast. Repost if you TRULY care." or something along those lines seems like the kind of thing those fraudulent posts would sound like. These need to be clamped down on and stopped. It's just not right.

So, how can we solve the Amazon crisis from our own perspectives? Even if you're making what may seem like a small change, chances are that lots of these perceived small contributions will amount to a massive one.

Firstly, we need to stop the sharing of these fraudulent pictures and try to clamp down on these apparent 'trendsetters'. It's just plain wrong and shouldn't be allowed.

Next, we raise awareness the proper way, not in a repost chain, but by taking note of honest news sources and perpetuating their points that are backed by evidence and edited and fact-checked, it means that the fraudulence should stop.

Then, it's left to the rest of the world to see what happens. I'm trying to make a small change by writing this article, stopping the spread of, in some weird and convoluted way, Fake News. Just for clarification, the Amazon Rainforest issues are the furthest thing from Fake News, it's the reposting and sharing of older pictures that twist the truth to suit the purposes of the repost campaign and chain.

In conclusion, a slightly different read today, but something that someone needed to say and I just hope that we can put an end to this spread of wrong images and the problematic ill of apparent 'trendsetters'. That's all I've got to say.


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