While we are all aware of the horrendous fires that are burning through the Amazon rainforest at an alarming rate, what many may NOT know is that central Africa is on fire too. The areas impacted are in the Congo Basin, which include parts of Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Cameroon and the Central African Republic. Since August 21, there have been more than 6,902 fires in Angola and 3,395 fires documented in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
However, the extent of those fires are being downplayed. Instead of acknowledging the risks both fires pose to Earth’s ecosystem, the media is reporting that the two fires shouldn’t be compared because the Amazon’s fire is due to deforestation and Africa’s is due to agriculture (which is partially the reason for the Amazon’s deforestation but I digress) and because of this, they seemingly setting the tone that Africa’s fires do not deserve the same energy as the Amazon’s. Lauren Williams, a forest expert with Global Forest Watch told the New York Times that they are “cautioning against comparing the situations in Africa and South America too closely. While fires are racing through environmentally critical rainforests in Brazil and Bolivia, in Central Africa, they are incinerating savanna and scrubbier land, and most likely licking at the edges of the rainforest.”
So you know, no big deal, right? *insert deep eyeroll*
But it is a big deal….a HUGE deal because the location of the fires are near the Congo Basin Forest, considered the “second green lung“. It is the second largest tropical rainforest in the world. Raise your hand if you learned that any time is school. Raise your hand if you even knew Africa had rainforests. African news is constantly downplayed, if reported at all. These fires shouldn’t be compared to one another but both should be addressed with the same seriousness.
So now you know…. just in case this didn’t make it to your time line.
Oh and now, according to THIS article, the Amazon isn’t as important as we think it is either.