Viral This Week: Aug 19 – Aug 24, 2019

The viral news of the week has everyone looking at the devastating fires in Brazil, many of them taking place in the world’s largest rainforest. The fires have completely caught the attention of people from all around the world who’ve taken to social media to comment on the state of the world’s climate change.

Keep reading to find out more about the subject, as well as other things that went viral from August 19 to August 24.

The Amazon Seems to Be Dying

News of the fires in Brazil’s rainforest has been circulating for roughly three weeks. These have been described by experts as some of the most intense fires in the last decades.

The hashtag ‘#PrayforAmazonia’ quickly gained popularity on social media, with many people, including celebrities, weighing in on the topic.

Most of the fires seem to be agricultural in nature, either started by farmers clearing forest for cropland or small businesses burning stubble. It is clear, however, that the fires are created by humans.

The Amazon forest produces about 20% of the entire world’s oxygen, which is why many called this area ‘the planet’s lungs’. Naturally, these fires are quite concerning, and the World Wildlife Fund stated that if there is irreparable damage to the Amazon, it is possible to experience a higher emission of carbon, which could potentially make already-concerning climate changes even more severe.

Brazilian authorities seem to want to shift the conversation, however, claiming the fires are a natural occurrence. Ricardo Salles, the environmental minister in Brazil, tweeted that the Amazonian fires are a direct result of bad weather, wind, and heat, and completely ignored the human activity there known to have ignited fires in the past. However, environmental experts are sure the fires are mostly caused by human activity. In response, many people started tweeting an image is the text ‘The Amazon fire was deliberate’.

However, people seem to be divided on the subject. Has the situation in the Amazon been exaggerated?

What’s the Situation Like, Really?

While social media can be great for spreading the word on certain topics, it’s important to take everything you read online with a grain of salt.

First of all, the fires have indeed caused more harm than usual (fires in the Amazon are common, though their frequency has increased significantly in the last years). However, it’s important to note that it’s not the entire forest that’s on fire as it may have been suggested, but certain areas of it.

There has unfortunately been a lot of misinformation spreading online. A common ‘mistake’ a lot of people made was sharing photos of fires in the Amazon that have actually taken place previously, and claiming more areas of the forest are affected than it is announced.

Jayden Smith, the son of Will Smith, for instance, shared a photo of an Amazonian fire that took place roughly 30 years ago. Another common mistake some have made is sharing photos of affected animals seemingly burned by the fires.

One photo, in particular, sparked a lot of outrage outline. It shows a monkey holding its unconscious baby in its hands, apparently letting out a pain-filled scream. However, the picture was taken in 2017 by Indian photographer Avinash Lodhi in Jabalpur. Lodhi claims the baby monkey was just unconscious and recovered shortly after the photo was taken, but when she saw it seemingly dead, the mother started screaming in pain.

But leaving this misinformation aside, the fires in the Amazon are still a cause for concern. For one thing, they are mostly illegal and are destroying the biodiversity in the area. Additionally, they add to the already concerning issue of deforestation. If it continues, experts claim in the next years the Amazon could potentially turn from a green heaven into a dry savannah, and the entire world would suffer the consequences.

Don’t let some people exaggerating the truth prevent you from focusing on what’s going on.

Other Viral Topics of the Week

  • This TikTok Video of Mr. Sandman Cat Is Everything You Need to Watch Today

Seventeen-year-old Taylor-Ryan probably didn’t intend to make her cat, Ed, famous, but she certainly achieved it. The internet is absolutely in love with the video she made of Ed clapping his paws, turning, and swinging in front of the camera, all set to the soundtrack of ‘Mr.Sandman’ by the Chordettes.

In case you’re worried what Ed thought or felt about all of this, don’t worry. Taylor-Ryan assures everyone that no cat was harmed in the production of the video. Though it’s really hard to tell from his facial expressions. Or is that just a cat thing?

  • Dad Treats His Baby Girl to a Day at the Spa. Sort of

Dads aren’t exactly known for playing with dolls or braiding their daughter’s hair, but Instagram user @jim_star_ wants you to know he treats his baby girl to weekly spa sessions. The video posted on the social media platform sees this dad cutting his daughter’s toenails, and giving her the ‘spa talk’. Needless to say, people are in love!

  • Miley Cyrus Sets the Record Straight

The news that Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth separate broke many people’s hearts and a lot of people were curious to find out exactly what happened, specifically if Miley cheated like it has been suggested in the press.

Well, Miley went to her twitter account and posted a long thread clearing the air. No cheating, but she wants everyone to know she’s in a great place right now. Many fans respond to the thread and praised her for speaking out.

Over to You

What have you heard of the terrible fires in the Amazon? Did any other misinformation stumble on your newsfeeds?