You’ll be happy to know that there were only 20,000 fires burning in the Amazon within Brazil last month, according to Newsweek attributing the numbers to the Washington Post. That’s down from 31,000 in August, Newsweek says.

Presumably, rain and government troops have doused many fires. But how many have merged with larger fires, thereby reducing the number of fires if not the area being consumed by them all?

There aren’t a lot of details in the few recent articles I’m finding online. The destruction of “the lungs of the world” has mostly disappeared from news cycles.

And it’s unlikely that Pope Francis will get much ink from the media over the next few weeks as he hosts hundreds of bishops, climate experts and Indigenous people from the Amazon for a three-week meeting in Rome to discuss “the fate of the Amazonian rainforests and the world’s moral obligation to protect them,” as Georgina Gustin writes in a piece in Inside Climate News.

Yes, I know it’s not a mainstream news outlet. I never heard of it, either. But it’s an interesting piece, if you care what the Vatican has to say about anything.

Hey, the pope can — and will — put pressure on people in high places (if not an imaginary deity), even if he doesn’t garner headlines from mainstream news outlets. And god bless him for trying, eh.

The mainstream media in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and most other Western nations feed on fresh blood, er, news. And they will have plenty of it this month, from the rise and fall of politicians to demonstrations and other acts of protest by environmental groups like the Extinction Rebellion, who plan to be quite active in October.

The media’s focus will be on the daily actions of people, not so much on the destruction of Mother Earth as we knew her. We’ll see images of demonstrators swarming intersections of busy boulevards in major cities like Montreal. We’ll see pictures of die-ins, and signs screaming about the climate crisis.

Are the demonstrators diverting the media’s attention? There’s a fine line between raising awareness about the climate crisis and becoming the news focus yourself.

An hour or two after a climate demonstration by 500,000 people in Montreal ended on Sept. 27, the city streets were full of cars again.

There were lots of headlines about the demonstration, though.

Of course the media can only do so much. Most outlets these days don’t have the resources to send a team to the Amazon while at the same time cover the demonstrations in their cities, not to mention all the political news etc.

And the Amazon is just one hot spot in the climate emergency that is sweeping the globe. To paraphrase one headline I saw, climate change is melting, drying and flooding Earth. There are myriad climate emergencies.

Still, the activists will get the headlines in the weeks to come.

“Look at us!!”

I’m not knocking them. I support them. I get that they feel they have to make a contribution to fighting man-induced climate change.

I get that they can’t afford to fly to Brazil and help put out fires.

And I get that the media have to report the news events in their cities, and the Amazon is just so far away.

— Jillian