The burning Amazon rainforest is absolutely devastating–to the both the world’s ecosystem and the world’s souls. We may feel helpless, but we are not. Witches everywhere are taking to their altars to lend energy, but energy alone is not enough. Ending this crisis will take concrete steps. Many of them will need to come from world leaders, but there are things individuals can do, too.
1.) Find a local alternative to Palo Santo or South American herbs or be careful to ensure what you purchase is being harvested sustainably.
A V. Mendoza pointed out in this article, “Palo santo has become so popular, one can now purchase bundles at chain stores and even at the mall. In order for the tree where Palo Santo comes from to fully release essential oils, it must sit on the rainforest ground years after the tree has died naturally. The trees live an average of 40–50 years. Cutting down the trees to speed up the production process to meet market demands completely negates the spiritual value of the practice. Find alternatives that are local to our region — lavender and basil work just as well for rituals in Ohio.” For smoke-clearing rituals, also consider the use of rosemary or bay leaf. Lemon balm is wonderful when boiled and spritzed.
As one of my colleagues pointed out, many independent Magickal stores are in relationship with independent herb and wood sellers in Brazil or other areas of South America, and purchase these things in a sustainable way. If you’re not sure, ask. If you can’t get a clear answer (the salesperson at Anthropologie isn’t likely to know which part of the rainforest their Palo Santo was harvested from), don’t buy it.
2.) Buy less stuff in general.
Yes, you really do deserve the new corset because you have been SUCH a good little Witch all year…but our need to buy things we don’t need is wracking our resources. Maybe corset-making materials don’t come directly from the rainforest…but the factories in which they’re made get their materials from somewhere. Those factories also belch a lot of crap into the air which is contributing to overall climate change. Hotter temperatures mean hotter fires–everywhere, including the Amazon.
Try buying things you don’t actually need second-hand. Or upcycle a tired old corset into a shiny, new one. If you’re concerned about supporting a local business, see if one of your favorite vendors can help you procure your desired item second hand and give them a finder’s fee…or see if you can hire them to do an up-cycle renovation on the thing you’d like to have.
3.) Help the bees and the trees in your area
The Amazon rainforest are the lungs of the world. If they’re suffering, help the other carbon-eaters in your area. If you have a yard, be mindful of invasive plants and remove them whenever you can. You may not think that a small blackberry patch in your back yard will have an effect on the forest ten miles over, but birds will eat the berries from your yard and deposit the seeds miles away, spreading invasive plants that will harm native ecosystems. Let your dandelions grow and feed the bees. Plant trees.
If you don’t have a yard, consider joining a volunteer group that helps parks, natural areas, or plants trees.
4.) Talk about it. Don’t stop talking about it.
A lot of people are concerned about the fires, but don’t realize the root cause of the issue. Here it is: Right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro (otherwise known as Super Trump) rolled back numerous protections for the Amazon rainforest and fired a whole bunch of people in the country’s department of environmental protection. This made loggers and ranchers feel emboldened to illegally slash and burn the forest to either make money off the timber or open the land to cattle grazing. Again, this is illegal, but it’s happening because those who are doing it won’t be punished.
People need to know that this is specifically because of a leader’s actions–not a natural disaster, not an accident. They must know so that we can pressure our leaders to put pressure on Brazil. We also need to know that this same sort of thing can easily happen, here (and in some ways, already has….)
6.) Raise hell and jam phone lines
Contact your elected officials and make known how absolutely appalled you are about the state of the flaming rainforest. Calling Trump won’t do much, but you can reach out to your state reps and senators.