Text: Holly Rose

Published: 28 November 2019

Holly Rose is a UK-based writer, soil advocate and environmentalist sharing tales of regeneration and rewilding through her multimedia projects and She believes that by amplifying education on regeneration, promoting provenance, and prioritizing on equality, we can restore our lands and communities with daily acts of regenerative reciprocity. We couldn't agree more, and am happy to feature this article of hers that so mind-blowingly compares natural and monetary wealth:.

Here’s some irony indicative of human ignorance.

The wooden roof of Notre Dame that went up in flames was built with beams from primal forests 800 years ago. Due to France’s own deforestation, there are no trees left in France big enough to replace the beams that burnt. In fact, only 4 per cent of Europe’s remaining woodland is old-growth forest and outside Russia and Northern Europe, there are no old-growth forests larger than 500 km2 . The largest forest on the continent of Europe is Białowieża Fores, which is 3,085 km2 and stretches across Belarus and Poland.

Since Bolsonaro came into power in Brazil less than a year ago, 3,444 km2 of the Amazon Rainforest has been removed, MORE square kilometres THAN make up the entirety of the largest old-growth forest (Białowieża Fores) remaining in Europe.

In just the month of July (before these current fires), Brazil set a new deforestation record in the Amazon Rainforest, removing 1,345 km2 of the world's lungs in a single month. Meaning we lost old-growth trees, plants and wildlife on land double the size of the largest old-growth forest existing in Southern Europe in 31 days. 


The Amazon Basin is home to over 20 million Indigenous peoples, as well as 30 million species of plants and animals. That’s half of the Earth’s wildlife and at least two-thirds of its plant species which provide essential food and shelter for pollinators and wildlife, who in turn provide us with the majority of our food sources and medicines.

Currently, there are 3,000 plants recognized by the U.S. National Cancer Institute to be active against cancer cells, and 70% of these come from the rainforest itself.

The Amazon is also vital carbon sink, drawing carbon down from its overpopulation in the atmosphere - where it takes life/causes global heating - and pulling it into the soil where it gives life and prevents climate breakdown. Deforestation of any kind (leaving the soil uncovered and plant unrooted for any reason) accelerates climate breakdown.

If the entire Amazon forest was lost, the carbon that would emit into the atmosphere would be equivalent of up to 140 years of all human-induced carbon emissions. Bringing on an apocalyptic reality beyond imagination.

A group of Brazilian scientists has estimated that between 2021 and 2030, Bolsonaro's deforestation could release the equivalent of 13,12 gigatons of carbon. Which is is "two and three times the annual carbon impact of the entire American economy, with all of its aeroplanes and automobiles and coal plants". 


To halt deforestation, restore landscapes, change agricultural practices and decrease the risk of dieback, and begin to return governance to the 20 million Indigenous peoples the Amazon Rainforest was stolen from, it would cost $122 billion dollars.

Ironically, Jeff Bezos, founder of the e-commerce colossus ‘Amazon ’ (which he named 'Amazon Inc' because he aimed to have it represent the largest collection of retail items on the internet, inspired by the Amazon Rainforest which has the largest collection of flora and fauna), rounded our 2018 with a net worth of $123 billion. Every penny needed (with liquidation or long term investment) to start saving THE Amazon, and he'd still have 1 billion to play with. Everybody wins.

** Please note, the 'everybody pays' scenario was proposed in 2013; however, due to global wealth inequality, where about 300 people on earth have more wealth than the poorest 3bn -it is not possible to make such a program of ‘everybody pays’ work without a good chunk of the population falling below the poverty line.


  • Donate to Amazon Frontlines who work with indigenous-led activists to defend the rainforest.

  • Declare yourself an 'Earth Protector' with Ecocide Law who are working to make acts of Ecocide (destruction of the natural environment, especially when deliberate) a crime in the International Criminal Courts.

  • Eat local, seasonal food produced through Regenerative Agriculture. Amazon deforestation is a result of OUR consumption if we 'divest' from this type of agriculture it will make reforestation credits and agroecology practices beneficial to the planet and farmers in the Amazon.

  • Vote for leaders who understand the urgency of our climate crisis.

Originally posted here on 23 August 2019.