When Notre Dame caught fire and fell, the entire world found out about the fire as it was still blazing. Every major news station across the world was airing live scenes and millions of people were already pledging their help in rebuilding this sacred building. Despite the action taken when Notre Dame burned, the world has taken a blind eye to the events currently happening in the Amazon rainforest.

On the day of writing this column, the Amazon had been burning for nearly three weeks and has seemed to have been completely overlooked. There are no billionaires pledging to fund the fight against this fire and the level of coverage is not even close to the coverage Notre Dame received.

I am not here today saying that the Notre Dame fire did not deserve the support it did, but rather that the Amazon deserves the same support. If we are not supporting the fight to keep the largest rainforest in the world alive, how do we know that we will be able to sustain this planet for the future?

Many people may overlook the few news headlines talking about this fire, claiming that it is not affecting them. It is a “not my country, not my problem” mindset. While I am fully aware that this rainforest is thousands of miles from the United States, that does not mean we should not care about this important event. People do not understand that this rainforest is home to millions of different species that are exclusive to this unique place in our world. These species are inches away from falling victim to this fire, being completely removed from this world. Should we lose these species, we lose the diversity in our world for years to come.

Another important thing to note about the Amazon rainforest catching on fire is that this is the first of many tests for the humans on Earth. We have been tasked with keeping this planet healthy for future generations, a task that we currently seem to be failing. People are still turning a blind eye to these events, despite the fact that a large portion of the Earth’s oxygen comes from the Amazon. Standing here, watching the people ignore the Amazon rainforest, makes me worry about the state of the planet when it is up to me to take care of it.

Today’s column is not meant to tell everyone to fly to Brazil and join the firefighters in the fight against the fire. That would be impossible and rather dangerous.

The best way we can help is to raise awareness about the events. Social media is a powerful tool to spread information in today’s age of technology, as it is extremely easy to converse with people from all over the world. For example, someone from South America can easily share information about the state of the fire. With this, the average Sebring resident can spread this information to those who are still unaware of the fire in the Amazon rainforest.

Raising awareness is always the first step to action and encourages people who are able to help to be called into action. With the right amount of knowledge and awareness, we can help the fight against this terrible fire despite being thousands of miles away.

Miguel Arceo is a student athlete at Sebring High School.

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