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Industry Has Brought the Amazon Rainforest to an Ecological Tipping Point

Amazon expert says the world’s largest tropical rainforest—and its biggest terrestrial carbon sink—is on the brink.

“One out of nine gallons that you put in your tank in the United States comes from the Amazon,” says Paul Paz y Miño, Associate Director of Amazon Watch, during a wide-ranging discussion about Steven Donziger, an American lawyer who successfully sued Chevron for billions in damages to clean up its polluting of the Ecuadorean Amazon. 

The Amazon rainforest “regulates our entire global weather system, especially in the United States. The food that's grown in the United States depends upon the water that's generated from the Amazon” according to Paz y Miño. He adds that “22% of it has been deforested. If this continues, it cannot recover. It will essentially become a savanna.”

“The Amazon is our heart, and this industry is literally destroying it in front of our eyes. The challenge now is not just to go after [oil companies], but to stop the continued extraction” in general, he says. 

Watch the full panel:

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