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What do the fires in the Amazon rainforest have to do with Corvallis? A lot.

The Amazon is a major regulator of the planet's water cycle. The rainforest governs rainfall, and thus droughts and flooding, around the world.

Jungle makes its own rain — trees put moisture in the atmosphere via evapotranspiration; then rain falls each afternoon, cycling water back into the ground. This cycle helps regulate temperature and rainfall even in distant places, such as Corvallis.

Observers note that the huge amount of deforestation and fire will bring the Amazon to a tipping point in just a couple of years. Rainforest will shift to dry savanna. Forest cannot return because savanna doesn't produce moisture for cycling. Earth will lose this major regulator.

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What can we do? Politically, we can ensure that all countries pressure Brazil to stop cutting and burning the rainforest.

Economically, the forest is being destroyed mainly to raise beef for the fast-food chains. We can stop eating their burgers, and let them know why.

Marjorie Smith

Corvallis (Oct. 26)

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