By Alexa Castellano
When thousands of fires ravaged the Amazon Rainforest last month it sparked outrage across the world. Satellite images of the rainforest burning, of large clouds of smoke visible from space, shocked citizens around the world, uniting in worry about what this could mean for our planet and humanity’s wellbeing. The Amazon is the most biodiverse terrestrial ecosystem on the planet, with nearly 30% of the world’s species, and provides 20% of the world’s oxygen. Health experts warn that if the Amazon continues to burn, it will release a vast amount of carbon dioxide pollution into the atmosphere, with concentrations of up to 20 times the EPA standard. Additionally, scientists estimate that the Amazon is at a tipping point, where it can no longer function as a carbon sink for the Earth, a scenario known as forest dieback. The way in which the Amazon is treated impacts the entire global population, raising the question: who does the Amazon belong to, and who has the capability to protect it?