It started last week and spread throughout the entire internet: the world is ending because the Amazon Rain Forest, aka the “lungs” of our dear sweet Mother Earth, is engulfed in flames. If you paid any attention to the bleeding hearts like Madonna and Leonardo DiCaprio, you may even believe the Amazon Rain Forest’s current relationship status of “hot” is all our fault. If only you’d bought the Prius. If only you used a recyclable tote. If only you didn’t grab a straw to drink your mocha cookie frap. Thanks to you and your selfish, human ways, the vast Amazon Rain Forest is melting like the Wicked Witch. Except, as it turns out, the media hype about the Amazon is vastly overblown. In fact, though there is a forest fire yes, it’s not nearly as bad as it has been.
First of all, a lot of misinformation about the fires have bee spread by supposedly caring, environmentalist tools. From Forbes:
And yet the photos weren’t actually of the fires and many weren’t even of the Amazon. The photo Ronaldo shared was taken in southern Brazil, far from the Amazon, in 2013. The photo that DiCaprio and Macron shared is over 20 years old. The photo Madonna and Smith shared is over 30. Some celebrities shared photos from Montana, India, and Sweden.
I’ll just be over here waiting for Snopes to fact-check these celebrities for sharing false photos to spread a false narrative. Hopefully Snopes can take a break from fact-checking Babylon Bee, important work though that is.
No, many of the photos spread weren’t even of the current fires “ravaging” the Amazon. One reason for that is much of the fire burns below the tree canopy, so you can’t actually get great photos of it. But worse, celebrities and Twitter morons spread the lie that somehow all of the planet depends on the Amazon to actually breathe, calling the Amazon the “lungs” of the Earth:
What about The New York Times claim that “If enough rain forest is lost and can’t be restored, the area will become savanna, which doesn’t store as much carbon, meaning a reduction in the planet’s ‘lung capacity’”?
Also not true, said Nepstad, who was a lead author of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. “The Amazon produces a lot of oxygen, but so do soy farms and [cattle] pastures.”
Sorry. While the Amazon is large, lush, and famous for some nasty critters, it isn’t the only forest on our planet. Calling the Amazon the lungs of Earth is also a slight to every other forest or patch of plants anywhere else. Up to and including Harvey Weinstein’s mistreated ficus. The Amazon isn’t the only spate of trees we’ve got, people. I do suggest everyone who whines about “OMG, BURNING TREES!” get on a plane and look out a window. This means you need to close the laptop, turn off the inflight movie, and look OUTSIDE. See allllll that open space? See all those trees? Water? Unused space? Yes? Get over yourselves.
While the number of fires in 2019 is indeed 80% higher than in 2018, it’s just 7% higher than the average over the last 10 years ago, Nepstad said.
Get out. You mean there may be a reason people are panicking over THIS fire and not a fire from, say, 2008? Huh. Wonder what was going on in 2008 that isn’t going on in 2019. Think about it for a second.
Look it, a chart:
Kind of looks like the fires were worse in 2010 and 2008, and even worse in 2005. Yet all of a sudden, in 2019:
“What is happening in the Amazon is not exceptional,” said Coutinho. “Take a look at Google web searches search for ‘Amazon’ and ‘Amazon Forest’ over time. Global public opinion was not as interested in the ‘Amazon tragedy’ when the situation was undeniably worse. The present moment does not justify global hysteria.”
No it doesn’t justify a global hysteria. But neither does a joke from ten years ago warrant a public lynching. Yet here we are.
Go on to read the rest of the Forbes article and it will blame the drought for fires. The drought is, of course, blamed on climate change. I will remind you the word “drought” was coined long before Al Gore and the hockey stick model. “Drought” is a climate cycle, not a symptom of climate change. I’ll just throw my “opinion” around that for the fact-checkers at Facebook using any and all excuses to throttle our page. *waves with both middle fingers*
Don’t lose sleep over the Amazon fires. The Amazon sometimes has fires. This isn’t a new phenomenon, nor is it one that’s particularly catastrophic. It is, like much of the news written to make you terrified, part of a larger narrative.
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Author: Courtney Kirchoff