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EcoRollins enlightens students about Amazon

Graphic by Caitlyn Patel

Written By Anna Voicu

Inspired by the recent Amazon Rainforest fires, EcoRollins taught students the best ways to help preserve the Amazon Rainforest at their club meeting. EcoRollins is an environmental activist organization.

The Amazon fires are at their highest since 2010, according to a New York Times article.

Unlike California, the Amazon is not a fire-prone habitat. It will not be easy for the rainforest to bounce back from this destruction, despite its biological diversity. 

Members of EcoRollins said that donations are incredibly beneficial, though not everyone has the financial means for it. 

EcoRollins also shared common misconceptions of the Amazon rainforest fires. Students learned that the livelihood of various indigenous groups actually depend on sustainable fires. 

However, the fires started by these groups are not set with the intention of burning down any trees. They are used to clear ground and make room for cattle and other livestock, so they are not nearly as damaging as the current fires. 

One National Geographic video shown during the meeting revealed how the Amazon fires affect the people living nearby. Not only were they emotionally impacted, but forced to physically change some aspects of their life in order to adapt to the situation. 

Ryann Blennerhassett (‘20), one of EcoRollins’s leading members, said that Brazilian “children were aware of the problem,” whereas she said children in Florida or other parts of the U.S. are typically oblivious to national issues.

Melissa Mason (‘23) said, “I think the EcoRollins meeting was super educational. I feel more motivated in what I can do to help, like donating my old phones.”

The club detailed free ways students can decrease forest fires and deforestation at the meeting.

One of the free ways students can help decrease forestation is through Ecosia. Ecosia is an internet search engine that plants a tree with every search a person makes using their browser. Ecosia donates upwards of 80 percent of its profits to organizations that work to combat deforestation. 

Currently, those organizations have planted well over 67 million trees, a number that continues to grow.

EcoRollins said another way to help is by recycling old cell phones. Donated phones are made into devices that can detect logging. This process was created by environmentalist Topher White, whose TedTalk was shown at the EcoRollins meeting. 

White visited a gibbons sanctuary in Brazil, where the threat of deforestation is so severe that workers were forced to employ guards to protect their location from loggers.

 To end the meeting, the EcoRollins advertised their future events, including inviting students to plant new growth. 

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