Food We Eat
From the coffee you drink in the morning to the chocolate you eat after dinner, food from the Amazon quietly makes its way into all of our lives. Ensuring that this food continues to make its way to people around the world, without causing a catastrophe in the rainforest, is a global conservation priority.
The Amazon is the largest land-based “carbon sink” on the planet — so important to our global climate that many people have called it “the lungs of the Earth.” Its forests absorb destructive greenhouse gases like CO2, filter the air we breathe and keep the entire planet hospitable to life.
Jobs and Prosperity
Some 31 million people live in the Amazon region, and their livelihoods depend directly on the natural resources in their backyard. For example: The market for açai berries, a “superfood” used in vitamins and energy drinks, generates more than US$ 250 million per year in the Brazilian state of Amapa alone — creating thousands of jobs in harvesting, transportation, processing and sales.
Water We Drink
In just one day, more than enough fresh water flows through the Amazon River to supply New York City for an entire year. Tens of millions of people in the Amazon depend on this water for their daily survival — and scientists have shown that much of the rainfall from regions outside the Amazon actually originates in the region.
Medicines from Nature
As many as 120 prescription drugs sold worldwide today derive directly from plants found in rainforests — including the Amazon, the largest rainforest in the world. And more than two-thirds of all medicines found to have cancer-fighting properties come from rainforest plants. Still, the vast majority of tropical rainforest species have yet to be analyzed for their medicinal value.