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Guajajara indigenous tribe members pose in their village on protected Amazonian indigenous land on June 10, 2012 in the Arariboia Indigenous Reserve, Maranhao state, Brazil.

The Amazon Fires Are Destroying Indigenous People's Homes — We Interviewed an Amazon Watch Director to Learn More


This week, people all over the world became aware of the fires devastating the Amazon, primarily as a result of developers illegally clearing land by setting fire to the rainforest. Because the Amazon provides 20 percent of the planet’s oxygen — earning it the nickname of the lungs of the Earth — many are focusing on the detrimental effects a wounded Amazon rainforest could have on the climate at large. But what people are still unaware of are the ways these fires are already affecting the indigenous people who live in the Amazon.

Climate change is a social justice issue — and like with many other social justice issues, the people who are affected the most are minority groups. So while people in developed countries may not yet personally feel a significant impact from the climate crisis, some people who live in the Amazon have already had their reserves burned down by developers to make way for agribusiness such as cattle ranches and palm oil plantations.