Seeing thousands of acres of the Amazon Rainforest burn to the ground within a matter of days got us all feeling equal parts upset and helpless. With the Brazilian government just recently rejected financial aid from the G7, the situation doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
Despite being, quite literally, on the opposite side of the globe, offering the Amazon a helping hand can be far easier than you imagined.
Here are five ways you can help out the Amazon Rainforest:
1. Be a responsible consumer
Stay away from palm oil
Palm Oil is one of the major culprits of rainforest deforestation; and it’s found in practically everything- from chocolate and margarine to lipstick and shampoo. So next time you do your grocery shopping, do take a look at your products’ labels and opt for palm-oil-free alternatives.
However, it should be noted that palm oil can be quite resource-efficient compared to many other vegetable oils, and some businesses are going out of their way to make their use of palm oil environmentally sustainable. So another good option could be looking for CSPO (Certified Sustainable Palm Oil) products.
Purchase responsibly sourced products
Next time you’re out buying your printer paper, keep an eye out for the FSC-certified stamp. This makes sure that the wood pulp used to make the paper is sourced from a well-managed and sustainable forest, making the end product just as eco-friendly as recycled paper.
Keep an eye out for environmentally-responsible brands
Look out for products with Rainforest Alliance Certification to ensure that environmental, social, and economic sustainability was kept in mind throughout the products’ manufacturing process. Some brands also choose to donate to environmental causes with every individual purchase, so keep an eye out for those.
2. Reduce your fossil fuel consumption
We’ve heard this a million times, but we’re now seeing the disastrous consequences of climate change in practice.
There’s a range of things you can do to help reduce the global carbon footprint – starting from limiting your car usage, refraining from being overly-dependent on air-conditioning, and finding alternatives to air travel. It’s a small change, but it all starts with you.
3. Reduce your beef consumption
A significant chunk of all the beef used for fast-food and processed products comes from cattle stationed in rainforests. Two-thirds of Central American countries’ rainforests have been cleared for cattle farming and our role as consumers is vital in addressing this. Reducing our beef consumption will subsequently diminish demand and thus cut back on the pressure to clear more forests for cattle farming.
So substitute your weekly McDonald’s fix with a home-cooked meal and give the rainforests a helping hand.
4. Donate to fundraisers
Facebook has made it easier than ever to donate to righteous causes. A number of concerned Maltese citizens have made their voice heard by setting up their own rainforest fundraisers on the platform.
Most notably, Earth Systems student Mike Paris has single-handedly raised more than €2,000 in the past week to help the NGO Amazon Conservation. Help him reach his €3,000 goal by donating here.
There’s a plethora of international foundations seeking to help out different sectors of the Amazon Rainforest. Amongst others are:
5. Make your voice heard
Making your voice heard is way easier than you might think. You can do this in a whole host of ways; from joining environmental NGOs, to attending protests, and generally fighting apathy. These are all vital in letting the big businesses and governments know where our priorities lie.