Prince Albert Foundation says efforts to protect forests should be redoubled amid Amazon fires

The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has joined a growing chorus across the globe condemning Brazil’s deforestation practices which have contributed to the fires currently raging in the Amazon.

Image Credit: luoman

“The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which since 2006 has made the preservation of biodiversity and the fight against climate change one of its priority missions, supports or has supported various projects to conserve equatorial forests in Latin America, Africa and Asia,” Bernard Fautrier, Vice-President and CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, told Monaco Life. “It considers the situation in the Amazon, particularly in Brazil, ravaged by very large-scale fires to be extremely worrying.”

Satellite data has recorded more than 41,000 fires in the Amazon region so far this year – more than half of those this month alone. Experts said most of the fires were started by farmers or ranchers clearing existing farmland, supported by Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro who has relaxed the enforcement of laws against deforestation and encouraged mining and farming in the Amazon since his inauguration in January.

NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Worldview

“Massive deforestation, a consequence of the policies pursued on Brazilian soil, is an attack on Nature and on the integrity of indigenous communities, which are under increasing pressure,” said Mr Fautrier. “This ‘oxygen reservoir’ represented by the Amazonian forest, essential for the future of our planet, is in great danger.”

Meanwhile, more than 1.8 million acres in nearby Bolivia have burned amid 13,396 fires in August, a 422% increase from the month before, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

“Far beyond national ownership, Amazonia is a heritage common to all humanity. The current situation should encourage us to redouble our efforts to protect forest ecosystems and continue our mobilisation in favour of territorial management strategies involving indigenous communities and respectful of biodiversity.”

1 in 10 of all known species on the planet live in the Amazon, while 305 indigenous groups depend on the forest and rivers for food and shelter.

Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest

After weeks of devastating fires, world powers are finally mobilising, led by French President Emmanuel Macron who last week hosted the G7 Summit in Biarritz and referred to the Amazon as the “lungs of the planet”. On Sunday, world leaders agreed on a 22 million euro aid package to fight the Amazon fires. But Brazil appears to have rejected that offer, with a senior Brazilian official telling French President Emmanuel Macron to take care of “his home and his colonies”.

“We appreciate [the offer], but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe,” Onyx Lorenzoni, the chief of staff to President Jair Bolsonaro, told the G1 news website.

The Brazilian presidency confirmed those comments to Agence France-Presse.

Nonetheless, outrage and support continue to mount across the globe, with high-profile personalities contributing to causes that bypass the Brazilian president. The latest is Leonardo DiCaprio who, through the Earth Alliance fund that he set up in July, will donate 5.5 million euros to local groups and indigenous communities as they work to protect the Amazon.

So how can you help? Well, there are a number of ways that you can aid in protecting the rainforest and our planet:

  • Donate to the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and support its projects for combating deforestation.
  • Plant a tree as part of the Trees for Water programme, an initiative of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and its partner Grow Trees.
  • Donate to the Amazon Forest Fund organised by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Earth Alliance organisation.
  • Donate to Monaco-based association AMLA to help local Bolivians purchase firefighting equipment, dry food, medication and support families in need.
  • Donate to Rainforest Action Network to protect an acre of the Amazonian rainforest.
  • Donate to the Rainforest Trust to help buy land in the rainforest. Since 1988, the organisation has saved over 23 million acres.
  • Reduce your paper and wood consumption.
  • Look for the Rainforest Alliance seal at the shops to know that what you’re buying is considered rainforest-safe. RA is a non-profit organisation made up of companies, farmers and consumers aiming to increase the prevalence of sustainable farming around the world.
  • Reduce your beef intake. Beef found in processed products and fast-food burgers is often linked to deforestation.
  • The World Wide Fund for Nature works to protect the species in the Amazon and around the world.
  • Donate to Amazon Watch, an organisation that protects the rainforest, defends Indigenous rights and works to address climate change.
  • Donate to the Amazon Conservation Team, which works to fight climate change, protect the Amazon and empower Indigenous peoples.
  • Amazon Conservation accepts donations and lists exactly what your money goes toward. You can help plant trees, sponsor education, protect habitats, buy a solar panel, preserve Indigenous lands and more.
  • Donate to One Tree Planted, which works to stop deforestation around the world and in the Amazon Rainforest.
  • Sign Greenpeace’s petition telling the Brazilian government to save the Amazon rainforest and protect the lands of indigenous and traditional communities.