The world must work together to extinguish the fires ravaging Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, Pope Francis said in his weekly address to thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Concise News reports.
Francis said: ”Let us pray that they may be tamed as soon as possible with the efforts of all.
“These forest lungs are vital for our planet.”
Swathes of the Amazon are burning at a rapid rate, sparking fears about the potential impact it could have on the battle against climate change.
As global condemnation over its response grew, the Brazilian government said on Saturday that it was deploying tens of thousands of troops to help fight the wildfires.
Several countries have also offered assistance.
The backlash has been especially strong from the European Union (EU), which suggested that it could scrap a huge trade deal with Brazil and three other South American countries unless more action was taken against the thousands of fires currently burning.
The blazes followed moves by the government to open more of the rainforest to mining and agriculture, with satellite data indicating that the pace of deforestation was increasing rapidly.
Environmental groups and researchers say the fires have been intentionally lit by farmers to clear land.
UK PM deeply concerned about Amazon rainforest fires
In related news, Britain is deeply concerned about fires in the Amazon rainforest and Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use the G7 summit to call for a renewed focus on protecting nature, his office said on Friday.
“The prime minister is deeply concerned by the increase in fires in the Amazon rainforest and the impact of the tragic loss of these precious habitats,’’ said a spokeswoman.
The Amazon Rainforest produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and its been burning for the past 3 weeks. It’s our responsibility to help to save our planet. #prayforamazonia pic.twitter.com/83bNL5a37Q
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) August 22, 2019
Brazil’s far-right President, Jair Bolsonaro, has accused non-governmental organisations of burning down the Amazon rainforest to hurt his government, amid a growing global outcry against the wildfires.