March 18, 2023 Editor

Amazon Rainforest Destabilizes the World

image above: Vlad Hilitanu

WN: Thank God for small environmental gains. But the outlook is dire . . .


A new 40-year study discovered the eye-opening fact that what happens in the Amazon Rainforest impacts the entire Earth system. This puts an exclamation point on the fact that the Amazon Rainforest, the planet’s most crucial source of life support, is in deep trouble mainly because of massive deforestation.

The Amazon River Basin is the world’s largest rainforest, larger than the next two largest rainforests combined, the Congo Basin and Indonesia, and roughly the size of the forty-eight contiguous United States covering 40% of South America including parts of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana Suriname and French Guiana.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF): “The Amazon is of vital importance because people around the world, as well as locally, depend on the rainforest. Not just for food, water, wood and medicines, but to help stabilize the climate—around 76 billion tonnes of carbon is stored in the Amazon rainforest., The trees in the Amazon also release 20 billion tonnes of water into the atmosphere per day, playing a critical role in global and regional carbon and water cycles.”

The 40-year study links Amazonian deforestation to reduced Tibetan snows and Antarctic ice loss. Both carry serious consequences, respectively, loss of nature’s water towers for millions of people as sea levels rise everywhere.

The study analyzed 40 years of air temperatures, concluding that the climate of the planet is a function of several disparate forces that interact such that a new planetary state hostile to life may be underway. The study analyzed hourly near-surface temperatures accumulated by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast across a global grid of 65,000 locations for a 40-year cycle.

Specifically, the study demonstrated how air temperature changes in one region rippled through the climate system to affect temperatures in other parts of the globe. For example: Deforestation in the Amazon likely influences the Tibetan Plateau via a convoluted 20,000-kilometer (12,400-mile) pathway driven by atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns. The study suggests that a healthy, functioning Amazon is crucial not only for the regional climate in Brazil, but for the whole Earth system.” (Source: Claire Asher, Amazon Deforestation Linked to Reduced Tibetan Snows, Antarctic Ice Loss: Study, Mongabay Series, March 8, 2023).

Another study: Amazon Against the Clock: A Regional Assessment on Where and How to Protect 80% by 2025 published by the Amazon Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information, more all-inclusive than the WWF study, claims 26% of the entire Amazonian territory shows evidence of deforestation and degradation of which 20% is categorized as irreversible and 6% highly degraded. According to the study: “Of the nine countries that make up the Amazon basin, Brazil and Bolivia have the largest amounts of destruction and, as a result, ‘savannization is already taking place in both countries.”

“In the February 2020 edition of Science Advances, Professors Thomas Lovejoy, senior fellow of the United Nations Foundation, and Carlos Nobre, climate scientist from the Institute of Higher Studies of the University of São Paulo, warned that the loss of just 20 to 25 percent of the rainforest could send the Amazon to a point of no return, marking an unstoppable transition to a drier, savanna-like ecosystem.” (Source: The Amazon Approaches Its Tipping Point, The Nature Conservancy, August 20, 2020). Dr. Thomas Lovejoy (1941-2021) and Dr. Carlos Nobre have long been considered the world’s leading experts on the Amazon.

Meanwhile, in a stark contrast to the forces of nature, the massive rainforest is undergoing massive commercialization: (1) 600 infrastructure projects on rivers (2) twenty new highways planned (3) four hundred operating or new dams in planning stages, and (4) large-scale mining operations. (WWF)

According to Living Amazon Report 2022, World Wildlife Fund publication, November 8, 2022: “The situation has begun to show signs of nearing a point of no return: (1) Seasons are changing (2) Surface water is being lost (3) Rivers are becoming increasingly disconnected and polluted, and (4) Forests are under immense pressure from increasingly devastating waves of deforestation and fire.”

Statista claims: “In 2022, more than 145,000 wildfire outbreaks were reported in the Legal Amazon region in Brazil.” As a rule, fires do not naturally occur in humid, dripping-wet rainforests.

Please click on: Amazon Rainforest (De)stabilizes the World

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

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