While an obscene number of fires blazed across South America since as early as July, most of the world remained completely unaware that the vast Amazon rainforest was at risk. It wasn’t until mid-August that the news finally went viral, when environmentalist Nick Rose single-handedly focused a spotlight on the Amazonian catastrophe for the world to see.
With one Instagram post, Rose sent every social media platform and news circuit into a frenzy, prompting daunting headlines that informed the masses of the critical circumstances. But the grave reality was, these devastating fires had been ablaze for weeks and still, not one American media outlet had even known about it.
Rose took matters into his own hands by posting, not a photo of the current fires, but a photo from a previous fire in the Amazon, in hopes of generating some attention around the disaster.
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Terrifying to think that the Amazon is the largest rain forest on the planet, creating 20% of the earth’s oxygen, basically the lungs of the world, has been on fire and burning for the last 16 days running, with literally NO media coverage whatsoever! Why? @unitednations who is running your page? Influences??? Where are you when it actually matters????? @cnn @bbc @guardian @forbes #deforestation #climatechange PLEASE REPOST
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“I Googled ‘Amazon fires’ and saw minimal U.S. media coverage on it,” Rose says. “So I found a photo from the Internet from an older Amazon wildfire, I download it, and I post that.”
From Rose’s single Instagram post, he generated millions of impressions, after being reposted and shared by massive celebrities like Leonardo Di Caprio, Kim Kardashian, Cara Delevingne, Camila Cabello and even President of France, Emmanuel Macron. Thanks to the omnipotent effects of social media, Rose’s post would go on to spark trending topics related to the Amazon fires across Google, Twitter and Instagram. Rose continued to circulate the news himself, reiterating to the world that the Amazon, responsible for producing 20% of the earth’s oxygen, was in danger.
Countless celebrities, news outlets, and politicians began to reach out to him, asking how they can help. But like so many social media causes and campaigns that are all born from wholesome intentions, Rose knew he had to do more if he wanted to see a real impact. He began by identifying a need—the South America was not equipped with enough necessary gear needed to combat the fires. With the rainforest in a state of flux due to new fires breaking out daily, the South American professional firefighters simply weren’t enough.
Based on the social media traction he managed to create, Rose navigated a campaign to drive celebrities and influencers to a GoFundMe fundraiser to raise money to supply volunteer firefighters with gear and supplies to extinguish the fires.
“I did this to motivate more people to take action,” Rose says. “Anyone can do it and anyone can help with their own two hands.”
Rose, an early investor of Bitcoin, hasn’t always been professionally known as an environmentalist. While his business endeavors have always revolved around investing, Rose’s love for the environment dates back to his childhood in Greece, where he enjoyed planting trees with his parents. In his youth, his pastimes included outdoor sports like paragliding, snowboarding and wakeboarding. Having spent so much time outdoors, Rose considered himself an environmentalist at a young age.
“I grew up in nature so I was always worried about global warming and climate change,” Rose says. “I wanted to do something to give back.”
Under his self-established non-profit organization Oxygen Seven, Rose flew to Bolivia for a week in August to essentially offer whatever help he could. Upon his arrival, not far from the flames, in the small town of Robore, Bolivia, Rose was met by the town’s mayor, Ivan Quezada. The profound effect of Rose’s social media impact was evident as the mayor and military rallied around the young environmentalist to take action together. Rose organized excursions where he and the townspeople shopped for and delivered supplies and gear to firefighters, both professional and volunteer.
Even with the fundraising, encountering the sobering reality of the crisis in Amazon rainforest of Bolivia resonated so deeply within Rose that he found himself swiping his own personal credit card to do whatever necessary to make an impact.
With the smoke of the Amazon fires still rising into the atmosphere, Rose knows there’s still much more to be done. But because of the following and engagement he generated on social media, he now plans to continue to use it as platform to be a voice for the voiceless—Mother Earth. Coming up, Rose has commissioned plans with Mayor Quezada to reforest the Amazon with 500,000 trees. To learn more about Nick Rose and Oxygen Seven, please visit iamnickrose.com or find him on Instagram at @iamnickrose.
“I always encourage people to get involved,” Rose says. “I had no background, it just came from love.”
This article is presented by T1.