Photo by Neil Nourigat

Photo by Neil Nourigat



The Amazon — 2.12 million square miles across Brazil, Colombia, Peru and other countries — serves as the lungs of the planet, accounting for a quarter of the carbon dioxide absorbed by the world’s forests.

Now it’s under threat as never before. A growing agricultural sector, rampant deforestation and climate change have yielded a disturbing new reality.

Brazil's northern and western regions have experienced an 83 percent increase in the number of fires in the first eight months of 2019 compared with the same time period last year, according to Brazil's space research centre INPE.

The leading force of degradation is deforestation, much of it illegal. The rate at which the Amazon is losing canopy has grown since the inauguration of Bolsonaro, a former fringe lawmaker who campaigned in part on promises to open up the rainforest for development. More than three-quarters of the deforestation is the result of cattle farming and soy production.



Scientists say they are bidding farewell to Okjökull, the first Icelandic glacier lost to climate change, in a funeral of sorts.

Researchers will gather Sunday in Borgarfjörður, Iceland, to memorialize Okjökull, known as Ok for short, after it lost its status as a glacier in 2014. The inscription, titled "A letter to the future," on the monument paints a bleak picture.

"Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and know what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it," the plaque reads in English and Icelandic.





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