Amazon rainforest fires: How you can help
August 23, 2019 | 6:58 PM
by Times News Service
Here is you can can help save the Amazon.

Massive wildfires have engulfed the Amazon rainforest and smoke is now blanketing entire cities. This has led to heated political discussions in Brazil.

On Wednesday, the skies above São Paulo – the Western hemisphere's largest city‚ turned dark with smoke, making day look like night. Ominous photos of São Paulo spread across news outlets and social media, helping the hashtags #PrayforAmazonas and #AmazonRainforest trend on Twitter.

These wildfires have been raging across the Amazon rainforest at an alarming rate, and scientists warn that it could strike a devastating blow to the fight against climate change.

The fires are burning at the highest rate since the country's space research center, the National Institute for Space Research (known by the abbreviation INPE), began tracking them in 2013, the center said Tuesday.

There have been 72,843 fires in Brazil this year, with more than half in the Amazon region, INPE said. That's more than an 80 per cent increase compared with the same period last year.

The Amazon is often referred to as the planet's lungs, producing 20 per cent of the oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere.

It is considered vital in slowing global warming, and it is home to uncountable species of fauna and flora. Roughly half the size of the United States, it is the largest rainforest on the planet.

The Amazon River stretches across several of these South American countries, but the majority -- more than two-thirds -- of the rainforest lies in Brazil.

But Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro — he ran a presidential campaign that openly called for exploitation, not conservation, of the Amazon — suggested NGOs were responsible for the fires.

Amid international outcry, many on social media have questioned why there haven't been more donations to help combat deforestation in the Amazon, which produces about 20 percent of the world's oxygen and is often called "the planet's lungs.”

Here is how you can help:

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