Madonna, Leo DiCaprio among celebs speaking out about Amazon fires

Fires blaze through Brazilian rainforest

By Julia Hollingsworth, CNN
CNN Video

(CNN) - Huge fires have been blazing through the Brazilian rainforest this week, with more than half in the Amazon region. The fires spell disaster for the local environment and ecology -- and environmentalists and researchers say the blazes were likely lit by cattle ranchers and loggers.

A growing number of high-profile celebrities are among those speaking out about the potential global catastrophe.

Many are demanding accountability from Brazil's pro-business President Jair Bolsonaro, who activists say encouraged ranchers, farmers and loggers to exploit and burn the rainforest. But the President has said he's not responsible for the fires.

That hasn't impressed celebrities, who have taken to social media to ask the President to do more.

"President Bolsonaro please change your policies and help not only your country but the entire planet," said American singer Madonna in an Instagram post.

But celebrities are also calling on their fans to take action on the climate crisis.

In an Instagram post, American actor Leonardo DiCaprio urged his followers to donate to front line Amazon groups -- and vote for leaders who understand the climate crisis when it came to election time.

On Twitter, many people have tweeted using the hashtag #PrayforAmazonia -- including Jenner-Kardashian family matriarch, Kris Jenner.

"This is devastating!!! To human lives, to plants and animals, and to our planet," she said, above a video showing the size and importance of the rainforest.

Top Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo was the among a number of sporting stars to publicize the crisis.

"The Amazon Rainforest produces more than 20% of the world's oxygen and its been burning for the past 3 weeks. It's our responsibility to help to save our planet," he said.

Other celebrities have posted or tweeted about the fires, including US singer and producer Miguel, Queer Eye host Bobby Berk, Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello, and Miley Cyrus' younger sister Noah Cyrus. "Don't pray for the Amazon," said Miguel. "Pray for yourself."

However, some of the photos being circulated by celebrities and social media users inaccurately depict fires from previous years, or in different parts of the world. One widely-shared photo, which shows a wall of smoke arising from the rainforest, was taken in the Amazon more than 20 years ago.

Brazil's space research center (INPE) said this week that the number of fires in Brazil are 80% higher than last year. According to Christian Poirier, the program director of non-profit organization Amazon Watch, the destruction this year is "unprecedented" compared to previous years.

CNN's Jessie Yeung contributed to this story.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.