The Amazon rainforest is often called the lungs of our planet. It absorbs and processes carbon dioxide and it produces a large portion of the oxygen that keeps animals and humans alive all over the earth. The Amazon produces so much humidity and rainfall that the clouds above the rainforest are even referred as a river in the sky. A lot of the rain that falls on other areas of the planet originated here, because of these trees.brbrThe Amazon is a vast mix of jungle, wetland, and river systems that cover more than 7 million square kilometers. Although the majority of the Amazon basin lies within the borders of Brazil, the Amazon also stretches across Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and other countries in South America. It represents more than half of our remaining rainforest, with more than 390 billion trees, comprised of 16,000 different species. An astonishing one in ten of the known species in the world lives in the Amazon rainforest. It hosts more than 2,000 bird and mammal species alone. It’s importance to our planet and to our environment is unparalleled.brbrThe Amazon has been doing its job for over 55 million years. And yet, despite the staggering contribution this rainforest makes to the well-being of our planet, we are in constant debate over how we are treating, or mistreating it. For the first time ever in the history of its existence, much of this rainforest is threatened and because of this, so are we.brbrWe currently have fires raging over vast expanses of rainforest to make room for agriculture and industry and our global leaders are in disagreement over what needs to be done about this catastrophe. The threat to the rainforest is a crisis that raises important questions about ownership of the rainforest and responsibility to our environment, as well as responsibility to ourselves. This threat has made us all take a look at what we should be doing to change our negative impact on the rainforest.brbrAmid all the disagreement and debate, one resounding truth rings clear; the Amazon rainforest must be protected if we are to survive. And it only follows that we must also protect our other forests and ecosystems equally well.brbrTo fully appreciate the beauty and importance of the rainforest, all one has to do is spend a day wandering through it, or catch a glimpse of it from above. It's beauty is unmistakable.
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