The Illegal Burning of the Brazilian Amazon (and How You Can Help)

by Aline Sliva

This week, the world has reacted in shock as they became aware of a reality that local Brazilians have been dealing with for weeks: the Amazon rainforest is burning because a few rich farmers want Amazonian land to be used for agribusinesses. 


The Amazon rainforest has been named the lungs of the earth. But the last 18 days have drastically depleted its ability to breathe. According to Brazil’s National Space Institute, the deforestation rate in the rainforest is 88% higher this summer than last summer, and most of us know that the deforestation rate in the Amazon was already astonishingly high. 

In addition to displacing and endangering hundreds of thousands, almost a million, of Brazil’s indigenous peoples, this illegal burning is killing many non-human animals, greenery, and water flows—called invisible rivers—which are responsible for bringing rain to most of South America. 


As followers of Jesus, we are charged with caring for and protecting one another and the world’s vulnerable. We share a call to care for the whole earth, to anticipate the peaceable Kingdom of God, to share the peace of Christ with all of God’s beloved creation, and to love our neighbors well. But this year, we learned that we have just twelve years to reverse the effects of consumerism on our planet. We were told that if we don’t change our ways, the damage will be irreparable after twelve years. The burning rainforest is a shocking reminder that we have much work to do to peacefully co-exist in a world where all can flourish as creatures of God. 

Today, in many cities throughout the world, including Brazil, the people are gathering to demand justice for all.  Here is how you can help: 

  • First, remember this is a systemic and political issue. Those in power are not reflecting the interest of the people and of the Amazon. Brazil’s President Bolsonaro has continually said, “it’s simply burning season in the Amazon.” 

  • Do not simply pray. Please also take righteous action in solidarity with our siblings in Brazil.

  • Protect indigenous communities. Follow @AmazonWatch and become a regular supporter of the Rainforest Alliance’s Community forestry initiatives. 

  • Stay informed of developments and keep sharing.

  • Be a conscious consumer, taking care to support companies committed to responsible supply chains. Much of the forest is being burned to make way for grazing cattle, or crops to feed grazing cattle. Eating beef contributes to this demand.   

  • Use Ecosia, a search engine that uses 80% of their profits to plant trees. They have pledged to plant 1 million trees in Brazil. 

  • Vote for leaders who understand the urgency of our climate crisis and are willing to take bold actions, including strong governance and forward-thinking policy.