The Congo forest is also on fire and how the Environmental club is pitching in to help


Senior Elisa Offer attracts new members at the Club Fair for the Environmental Club. Photo Credit: Smriti Tayal

Far away from the blazes of the Amazonian rainforest tragedy, additional fires race across the Central African mainland. Despite the extensive distance between the two continents, these conflagrations share similar causes: humans. Whether it be accidental or intentional, the environmental impact without a doubt presents to be another waving red flag pointing to the accelerating dangers of climate change. 

Understanding why one would purposefully start a fire in the first place brings forth cognizance of how complicated the issue of man versus nature is. Slash-and-burn agriculture techniques (where large plots of vegetation are burned to make way for farming or cattle grazing) create nutrient-rich, ash-filled soil. This humus provides immediate but short-term relief for greater crop yields at the risk of the fire spreading beyond the proposed boundaries. The practice encourages mass deforestation and increased carbon dioxide production. While both regions face anthropogenic sources, there are distinct differences between the South American and African fires.

For one, few of the hundreds of blazes have reached the Congo rainforest itself; most of the fires have only danced around the edges but have generally stayed in the brushy savannah. More so, while the number of fires in Africa may outnumber those in the Amazon, more of these blazes are due to natural reasonings—the dry season arrives with the lower moisture levels necessary to kindle an easily-spreadable fire. When combined with the torrid grasses and decreased rainfall, the seemingly endless number of fires is understandable. However, the phrase “natural reasonings” still has to be taken with a grain of salt; human accelerated climate change speeds up the earthly processes in the forms of rising global temperatures, increasingly extreme weather and heightened greenhouse gases. To view a real-time map charting every fire around the world, click here.

It is easy to read about these great disasters while sitting thousands of miles away without having to consider the consequences of Earth’s declining health. How is one person alone supposed to provide aid to a world on fire? Buying a plane, filling it with water and flying halfway across the world does not seem to be very effective in, well, anything. Still, local students in Roswell High School make the effort to do their part to help the planet. From sponsoring drives to partnering with Crayola to recycle dried up markers, the Environmental Club (fondly nicknamed “the Green Hornets” by the sponsor Mrs. Katz) dedicate themselves to creating an ecological community here in Roswell. The Environmental Club looks forward to continuing to participate in local events, such as the Small Dreams Foundation’s Fun Run Toward Sustainability and the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s Water Warriors Summit. 

“[The Environmental Club] strives to raise awareness about environmental issues, complete projects around the school and implement more eco-friendly methods all around. Let’s change the world together!” said senior Ally Brenowitz, Environmental Club president. 

Read more about the other forest fires happening in the world here.