Our Amazon is disappearing in ashes

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(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms Maria Iara Alves Araújois, a third year medical student at Estácio – Juazeiro do Norte Medical School (FMJ) in Juazeiro do Norte, Ceará and Mr. João Victor Luna Gregório, a fifth year medical student at the Federal University of Cariri (UFCA) in Barbalha Ceará. They are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Of all the rainforests in the world, the Amazon was the only one that until then was still being conserved, both in size and biodiversity. Regrettably, according to the latest data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), about 45283 fire outbreaks have hit the Amazon rainforest, an alarming 122% increase from last year to the present.

In a year, the resources used daily for millennia, being destroyed, among them: plants, animals and other organisms used for multiple purposes such as clothing, agriculture and, essentially, for medicines. Of these, some manufactured to control hypertension, such as captopril, originated from the poison of Bothrops atrox (jararaca most commonly found in the Amazon region).

Too much, ninety percent of prescription drugs are based on substances that are extracted directly from plants. In the largest rainforest in the world, there are more than 10,000 plant species containing medicinal drugs; such as the Uncaria tomentosa plant (known as cat’s claw), native to the region, used to treat rheumatic diseases, reduce fatigue and improve the quality of life of cancer patients with advanced disease. Moreover, even with the uplift already provided in medicine, the researchers believe that only about 1% of the flora species have been scrutinized for their healing potential.

Moreover, we have the inertia of the rulers to stop this catastrophe. To what extent is this environmental disaster pleasing party stands that advocate landlordism and capitalismo to the detriment preservation and health? Making an analogy to the movie Avengers Ultimato, a conjuncture of factors including rulers, high temperatures, commercial interests, and so on have come together, such as the 6 infinity gems and, in a snap, are turning the Amazon and its biodiversity into ashes.

However, with the depletion of this rich biodiversity, the well-being, health and cure of diseases hitherto unknown to present and future generations are rife. How long will this heritage of humanity burn and its biodiversity fade away like sand in an hourglass? Who can intervene in this catastrophe? What is our share of the blame on this?

About the authors

Maria Iara Alves Araújois is a third year medical student at Estácio – Juazeiro do Norte Medical School (FMJ) in Juazeiro do Norte, Ceará. Local Publications and Research Director (LPR-D) of IFMSA, Brazil Estácio – FMJ.

João Victor Luna Gregório is a fifth year medical student at the Federal University of Cariri (UFCA) in Barbalha Ceará. Active member of the Student Cell Cooperative Learning Program (PACCE).

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