3 ways the Amazon is keeping all of us alive and why we should keep it alive in return

The Amazon rainforest is called "the lungs of our planet."

And nope, that's not an exaggeration at all.


The Amazon provides up to 20% of the Earth's oxygen...

Yes, it's true. In 2013, the Amazon was estimated to have close to 400 billion trees, which is close to the number of stars in our galaxy! Those trees absorb about 1 billion tons of CO2 per year (down from 2 billion tons in the 1990s).

The Amazon trees then transform the carbon dioxide into oxygen, and that's how we get fresh air. This means the Amazon can also help regulate climate, because CO2 and similar gases contribute to rising global temperatures.

...and contains 20% of the world's fresh water.

The Amazon Basin is pretty huge, measuring up to 2.6 million square miles. That's 40% of South America.

It has a TON of species that could hold the cures for cancer or HIV.

Botanist Mateus Paciencia has faith that the Amazon could churn out almost-magical substances that would rock the world of medicine. Chances are, it *has* to have something that spectacular.

"The Amazon has something like 20% of all the biodiversity in the world. Just in terms of plants with flowers, there are around 22 or 23 thousand. It is impossible to imagine that ... not one of them will have an active substance for some disease."
— Botanist Mateus Paciencia

Basically, the Amazon is a living, breathing wonder.

We Earthlings are lucky to have it.

But the Amazon is in trouble.

Drilling. Deforestation. Oil pollution.




Which means...

Those carbon-dioxide absorbing trees are being chopped down. Those rivers are being polluted. And those plant and animal species are facing threat of extinction.

Trouble for the Amazon means trouble for the globe.

Thankfully, we've got some heroes who are standing up for the Amazon.

What these indigenous tribes are doing to save the Amazon is saving their communities. But they're also saving the rest of us, too. Every step they take to push back and preserve the Amazon helps ensure that the rest of the world won't suffer from the rainforest's destruction.

Watch what these amazing tribes are doing. Be grateful. And then spread the word.

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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