Thousands of fires burning across the Amazon rainforest have captured international attention over the past week. Experts point to deforestation as the cause, which is often carried out illegally and which removed over three times as much forest last month as in July 2018.
Fires have been reported in the Brazilian states of Amazonas, Rondonia, Para and Mato Grosso. At least 305 indigenous groups live in the Amazon that depend on the forest and rivers for food and shelter. But the effects of damage to the Amazon go far beyond Brazil and its neighbors. The area's rainforest generates more than 20% of the world's oxygen and is home to 10% of the world's known biodiversity. The Amazon is referred to as the "lungs of the planet" and plays a major role in regulating the climate. Greenpeace has stated that as the number of fires increase, greenhouse emissions do, too. The world would drastically change if the rainforest were to disappear, with impacts on everything from farms to drinking water.
The organizations included in the Fund address immediate measures to combat the current crisis and harm to indigenous communities, as well as long term initiatives to combat climate change and to advocate against pro-development policies that have relaxed the enforcement of laws against deforestation and have encouraged mining and farming across biological reserves and indigenous territories.