NatGeo explorer talks protecting the Amazon in the midst of ferocious fires

Andrés Ruzo discusses why it's important to be in tuned to how the Amazon fires will effect the global ecosystem.
8:31 | 08/22/19

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Transcript for NatGeo explorer talks protecting the Amazon in the midst of ferocious fires
A tree now to disturbing story about the climate you may have heard that the Amazon rainforest is facing in extraordinary season. I fires down in Brazil this one direct threat to what scientists. Call the planet's lungs the Amazon rainforest and which sucks tons of carbon out of the atmosphere. Is now at risk with so much of the force rapidly deteriorating not re growing in that area could accelerate. Climate change for more what this. Means and for what policy makers can and should do about are joined now by National Geographic Explorer in her Rizzo his joins us from Miami spent a lot of time. Down in in the Amazon enter thanks so much for coming in. I'd give us your bottom line on what what we are seen down there in these extraordinary images. And why people should care about this. Yes autumn are my names on the base a crucial and I'm in my arm the National Geographic Explorer and conservationist. I've been working in the Amazon for most ten years now. And you know this really is. An exceptional partner globes this is one of the most violent response on the planet the series not only clings are our air but provides water itself. And also in a future with a lot of uncertainty here is route relating to super bugs to climate change all sorts of issues. The Amazon itself really presents a sort of genetic bank Arab botanical banked too. A lot of our potential salvation to a lot of the worst problems so. Least burned down I mean it's it's a serious serious issue. It's a bid this is thing going on for some time. Andres as well all right I mean there's not only have been some in deforestation performing another. Reasons that these fires as you say is there anything that can be done. Or is being done to re grow the force in these areas or is this is this something like once it's destroyed it's done. So yeah okay you got US thanks a couple of good questions that are so the first one has hasn't been gone on for a long time. Yes in the Amazon basin is about 90% the size the United States. About 70%. The size of the United States equivalent right would be covered and forests. Like a shed to she's one of the most bio diverse places on earth. And a we have been losing about two soccer fields roughly every single minute. The deforestation and that he's a major major issue as far as what we're seeing now. That's even worse because suddenly you have. And I work a lot with colleagues in Brazil are art Marie improved working. Most of our work is in Peru but you know one of things and members and colleagues are constantly saying is. We have an administration in Brazil that is very much I don't know this forced this year to destroy this force is here to develop. We need to make money off of this and if it's you know eight in these there's a tree that's worth money let's cut it down if there's and it William cleared for cattle let's cut down. That's a problem that it's getting out of control and one of the issues were down at is that well. Look at the rain forest produces its own weather systems really so when you have mass burnings tradition unfortunately something not too many people have. And I haven't seen too much a new sources. It creates its own range. So when you start getting large swathes of this damaged that impacts the entire forest for ever. In look on the head of a nonprofit. That supported by national Yeager us. Take the boy you're a project to check. On more earlier Murdoch board for example. And among other things we were one of many groups doing work to conserve to protect to reach forest parts of the Amazon. But it put it this way if you. The massive tree they could take 300 years to grow. In arched gets child down burned. You're not losing that tree you're losing entire ecosystem around it does the microbes in no soils that are helping give life to the serie so. You might reach for is I mean even the best case if I plan if I was able to re force the huge program and how it might be 300 years or more. Until next back to normal so we're losing a treasure right now and that's a serious issue for everybody. It sure is and I know that ABC news and other organizations are trying to put a spotlight on this National Geographic as well. I have one more question for Andris but I also want to shore viewers some new pictures we're just getting in high rent satellite. My photos from Max our satellite images the cystic our snapshot really. You're looking here Odyssey you can see the plumes of smoke from where some of these fires are burning if you look on the right hand side of your screen. You can see all the cleared or farmed burned. Land in this section of the upper Amazon river basin on the left hand side you see obviously the dark green. Portions of preserve forests that has slowly been. Dwindling away in just a snapshot right here reference from satellite but. Andres what can be done from the US perspective. That we we asked the Pentagon in the State Department today here in Washington whether. The trump administration had reached out in any way to help. The Brazilian government fight these fires in support the Amazon didn't get an answer back but is there something. From your point of view as a conservationist that the US government should be doing. So I I'd definitely there's more that the US government can be doing that's definitely putting pressure speed your priests. That's a big brands from army Sharma about making sure doesn't lend them. But yes you know as Doug governments at this point are should be our first line of defense as far as what features a whole. Pressure funding aid. All of that helps and it dollars but the problem is you don't have a political system in this case in Brazil. Willing to receipt and or willing to deny science to gag order Brazilian scientists that are at the forefront or lose. I think that's a bigger problem and that's where you. Meet all of the consumers watching this honestly. Also had a big role to play. Weakened to a lot three things at fort things in particular number one there's all sorts of great organizations mentioned my religion jeans and National Geographic. There's a lot of other words you can donate to groups like ours that are helping out warm in my opinion my personal favorite. Com these anti Amazon and I'm not kidding about the one large tree depending on species and tried you can sell for between 101000 dollars on the illegal markets that's. An issue how do we Noguchi worth more standing up and laying down eco tourism is one of our best bats come experience the Amazon com leave it is one of the most. Bio diverse places on earth its celebration of life. And everywhere you look something's buzzing slithering doing something and you leave the jungle and the rest of the world sparrow break. Experiencing it leaving it is or where you can help planting trees even here in the United States. The US was once covered and forced to announced unfortunately. The argument to the Brazilian administration. Is using against the United States rice right now they are actively show. Okay Europeans okay Americans you guys got to be forced all your stuff it's our turn to do the second. I'm summarizing what are saying but that's effectively. Where you have different states across the globe that are telling high schoolers you can't graduate until he put the treats. That's not a bad idea re forced the United States. And that also as far as the last thing that you can do as a consumer. What are you buying where's it come coming from a lot of the deforestation in South America in the Amazon basin. He's a direct result of cattle farm. If you are minimizing your red meat intake or avoiding it altogether or if you're making sure that your Paul whatever part products each bond. Had palm oil in Nam are sourced sustainable. And in areas that do not damaged during force that is a big thing big thing but again I intra best we can do as individuals frankly. Go visit the jungle. It's not a scary place it's not. Completions just hear it to play some wonder fascination and you go and shortly you will follow. And that why don't like these things hurt all the more. You put you pretty pretty pretty good sell on that hundreds Rizzo National Geographic Explorer I think we might attack a line. I down there on a trip to the Amazon to save the Amazon by buyer travel to great point tourism charity you mentioned planting a tree. Here at home and of course you exercise and some consumer power. On looking at there were those goods are coming from here at home picky so much great pointers as all of us watch this horrific images. From the Amazon rainforest which is burning an extraordinary rate.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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