“Most people don’t believe something can happen until it already has. It’s not stupidity, or weakness; it’s just human nature.” – World War Z
The Amazon burning down is a thought that probably never crossed any of our minds, which is strange, considering how familiar we are with deforestation and forest fires.
Whether these fires were started accidentally or intentionally is no longer important. Every second that it rampages on, it takes away vital life and a part of the world that we will never see again, a part that we should have protected and kept safe.
Many of us are angry but helpless. We want to help but we don’t know how.
In lieu of this, I’ve seen an upsurge in businesses professing to plant a tree when you purchase XXX.
I’m not going to comment on the ethics of such actions but I sincerely hope that every single one of these businesses will hold true to their word and are not capitalizing on the news to earn money from soft-hearted people.
I’ve been sucked in by such things before– who wouldn’t want to feel that their money is actually helping to do some good?
So let’s say the trees are really planted. This is a good idea btw, I’m not saying that planting trees is a useless idea. But these trees will take decades to reach maturity and produce any significant contribution.
What’s gonna happen in the meantime?
The situation will continue deteriorating and by the time the tress mature, they will no longer be enough.
The best way right now to really make some sort of difference to this Earth that we have been violently abusing is to reduce our carbon emissions (I know, I know– that’s pretty damn rich coming from someone whose livelihood depends on those great big planes emitting truckloads of carbon and shitting tons of fuel into the oceans).
That being said, since it is unlikely that all of us can be in Brazil helping to fight the fire (although if there was some way that every single person who cares could be there to actually help, the fire could definitely be stopped), there are several other ways which we can help:
Eating less meat. I know, some of you are probably going O GAWD NO right now, and some of you (like me) would be wondering how does less meat actually affect climate change? It turns out that “growing food”, you know, rearing livestock, transporting them etc actually turns out to emit quite a huge amount of greenhouse gases.
Besides, you don’t have to cut out meat completely, you can just eat a little lesser.
Drive lesser. This is a pretty big DUH, but yet there are still so many cars on the road. Carpool if you must, but driving lesser (or not having a car at all) saves you plenty of money as well.
Reusable bags are the bomb!
Stop buying clothes that we will throw in our closet and forget about.
Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. And when those clothes finally see the light of day, they would probably be consigned to the bin, from where they will make the journey to a landfill and take ages to decompose. Not to mention it probably already came to you via plane.
Less air-conditioning. This is a killer, especially for my fellow Singaporeans. But trust me, get a good standing fan (kdk is a good option) for your room and most of you will be fine. I used to sleep through the night with the aircon on even though I would wake up with a blocked nose.
Sometime in secondary school after learning that air-conditioning produces a lot of carbon, I would only switch it on a couple of hours and then switch it off before I go to bed, cooling down the room enough for me to fall asleep. Our electricity bill went down noticeably and my parents started doing the same (btw, there were some nights I actually woke up shivering from my kdk fan).
There are also plenty of other ways; changing light bulbs, switching stuff off, reducing food waste, avoiding air travel as much as possible, recycling etc.
It’s very easy for us to feel helpless when confronted with certain situations but I think some proactiveness, actually going to do something about it, would help a lot.