POPE FRANCIS has urged world leaders to come together to help save the Amazon Rainforest amid the recent outbreak of wildfires, and the international controversy that has followed it.
Describing the Amazon as "vital for our planet", Francis prayed that the fires, which continue to rip their way through the forests of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and others, be extinguished quickly.
“That lung of forests is vital for our planet," he said on Sunday during before thousands of people in St. Peter's Square, Vatican City.
“We are all worried about the vast fires that have developed in the Amazon. Let us pray that with the commitment of all they will be brought under control quickly."
Francis, himself a South American, born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was speaking following the G7 summit which brought world leaders from all corners to discuss a solution to the wildfires burning the Amazon to cinders.
In 2019, over 70,000 fires have been spotted by satellites in the rainforest - an all-time high since records began back in 2013 - and there's still four months of the year to go!
Leaders of the Latin American bishops’ council, known as CELAM, also urged international action to save the Amazon rainforest from the fires.
“We urge the governments of the Amazonian countries, especially Brazil and Bolivia, the United Nations and the international community, to take serious measures to save the lungs of the world,” the bishops said in a council statement.
“What happens to the Amazon is not just a local issue, but is of global reach,” the bishops said. “If the Amazon suffers, the world suffers.”
The Amazon Rainforest produces around 20% of the world’s oxygen, and while forest fires are often necessary to help younger vegetation thrive, the current levels of destruction there is a great concern for the future of the plants, animals and people who live there.