Rainforests sustain us. They help regulate the global climate and are vital to maintaining the earth’s fragile balance. The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest and most biodiverse tropical rainforest, covering an area larger than the continental United States. It houses one-third of the Earth’s plant and animal species and produces one-fifth of all its flowing fresh water. The Amazon rainforest is in crisis. It has been for some time. For nearly a quarter century, Amazon Watch has sounded the alarm that the forest and its Indigenous inhabitants are at extreme risk, and thus the future of our entire planet. For years, the plight of the Amazon was not known or talked about on a global scale. But in August of 2019, all of this changed. The world reacted to the news of the fires that swept across the Amazon in a way it never had before. The world became aware and took action. Now, there is no looking back. Nearly 400 distinct Indigenous peoples depend on the Amazon rainforest for their physical and cultural survival. With global deforestation contributing 20–25 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, Amazon Watch and our Indigenous partners are providing a service to all humanity as we together seek to defend the rainforest. Each of us can take action. We may be the last generation that has a chance to protect this precious gem of our world’s cultural and ecological heritage – an irreplaceable source of life and inspiration.
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