A dry and barren desert landscape.

Beyond the 1.5° threshold: the future of the Amazon Rainforest

A dry and barren desert landscape.

We’ve been warned for years not to hit 1.5°C – but last year, we did exactly that.

We recently saw the hottest March on record, which followed the warmest winter on record too. This marks 10-months in a row of record breaking average global temperatures and the realisation that 1.5°C has already been breached. So, what happens if we hit 2°C?

Let’s take a look at how this could impact what we know best – rainforest, specifically the Amazon rainforest.

A dry and barren desert landscape.

A dry and barren desert landscape could be the future of the Amazon rainforest if we continue breaching 1.5 degrees.

The Amazon’s Ticking Time Bomb: Savannization

Imagine the entire Amazon rainforest as barren, dry savanna, stripped of lush vegetation and tropical trees. Well, illegal logging, agriculture, and the intensifying effects of the climate crisis mean that the threat of “savannization” (the Amazon turning into savanna) is a very real possibility.

In fact, scientists predict that in the next 25 years, if we keep going at the rate we are, up to 47% of the Amazon could reach this tipping point, transforming from lush, tropical jungle to dry, savannah grasslands.

For 65 million years, the Amazon has served as a huge carbon sink for the planet, absorbing billions of tons of carbon and regulating the earth’s temperature. Destroying this ecosystem would release 200 billion metric tons of carbon. That’s the equivalent of 15 to 20 years of global emissions, which can cause the climate crisis to spiral out of control.

This would have devastating effects on the rainforest, endangering biodiversity, intensifying the climate crisis, and impacting the livelihoods of Indigenous peoples who call the Amazon their home.

The dense, green trees of the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon rainforest should stay vibrant, lush and green.

The solution

That’s all very scary stuff, and we wouldn’t blame you if it left you feeling hopeless. But luckily enough, we already have the solutions in place to protect the Amazon rainforest. These solutions are Indigenous and local communities who call this rainforest their home.

Of course we need to cut ties with fossil fuels first if we are to stop this climate crisis and reaching beyond 1.5 degrees. But in terms of keeping the rainforest thriving, Indigenous and local communities have the best track record at protecting the rainforest. Wherever Indigenous people have been forcibly kicked off their land by illegal industries or discriminatory governments, the rainforest they used to call home is next to disappear.

This not only an environmental disaster but a humanitarian crisis too.

Our work

We support these rainforest communities by providing the tools and resources for them to strengthen their livelihoods. This can range from improving access to healthcare and education, to building rainforest labs so they can monitor their rainforest for threats. All of these projects help create resilient rainforest communities that are better equipped to challenge threats to their homes. And as for the rainforest, it remains standing.

We can’t let the threat of a barren Amazon jungle or breaching 1.5 degrees demotivate us. Let’s turn that climate anxiety into climate action. Because you really can make a difference in this world, and it can all start with just one donation.