Where do we begin to talk about the topic “Save the Rain Forests”? How do we live with the trauma from the deep sadness we are all experiencing on some level because of what is happening to Mother Earth? Moreover, who are these humans that think it’s OK to destroy our home? Why can’t the destruction be stopped? When did it become OK to attempt to eradicate a group of humans because they insist on protecting their native homelands from destruction?
Answers to those questions are easy…because destructive people are not something new. Neither is this type of destruction something new. Finally, attempts to eradicate groups of people are not something new. In fact, archeologists have concluded that there were complex cities with millions of people inhabiting them when the first Spanish explorers arrived.
However, the diseases brought by the Spaniards wiped out the entire population so that in only 100 years when the explorers returned to find those cities – they vanished in the rain forest. Until these recent discoveries, many thought that the story of the cities was a complete fabrication. But sadly, it is not. So, was that the beginning of the end of the rain forest in South America?
Rain Forests • Mother Earth’s Oldest Eco-system
Rain forests are living ecosystems within themselves. As a matter of fact, the Encyclopedia Britannica calls them the earth’s oldest ecosystems. Rain forests are large, hot, and humid stretches of land covered by tall trees. The temperature and humidity are due to their location being near the equator. Rain Forests get their name from the fact that it rains nearly year-round. These lush tropical forests have flourishing animal life due to the heat and humidity.
What forces are destroying the Rain Forests?
The earth’s rain forests are quickly disappearing. Caltech.edu recorded that Rain Forests are being destroyed at a rate of 6,000 acres per hour. This would not be an alarming fact if the earth had an unlimited supply of rain forest. Alas, this is no the case. The same website states that there were once 6 million square miles of Rain Forest in existence worldwide. That number is now down to 2.4 million square miles.
So, who are these people who think it is OK to destroy the rainforest? Well, it should come as no surprise that the largest destruction revolves around financial gain. According to an article published by rainforestconcern.org profit-generating endeavors are the largest contributing factor to the destruction of the Fain Forest. Here are 3 activities contributing to the destruction. These activities must be done in a more sustainable way if we are going to save the Rain Forest.
Illegal logging is devastating and out of control.
A report by the United Nations says that over 90% of the logging that takes place in tropical rain forests is done illegally. Logging, in and of itself is an essential trade that has been in existence for centuries. The logging industry provides people with products such as paper, medicines, and food ingredients. Logging is important because if it were to stop completely, forests would suffer overgrowth. Illegal logging leads to a substantial problem: deforestation.
Deforestation is the removal of standing trees to make room for anything other than trees. Deforestation involves cutting down trees so that the lumber can be used in making other products. It also includes clearcutting forest land to build farms, urban housing, commercial buildings, or highways. This issue is not only destroying the rain forest, it will eventually leave loggers with no products. Because of this, even most loggers operating legally are also interested in ways to save the Rain Forests.
Mining for minerals leaves barren earth.
For many companies, minerals such as aluminum, copper, diamonds, and gold are far more valuable than Rain Forest trees. As a result, mining companies clear acres of Rain Forest so they can mine for these minerals.
For example, in an article by ScienceDaily.com mining for minerals is one of the leading causes of deforestation nationally. Gold mining specifically in the Amazon Rain Forest has increased rapidly in recent years. In the article, a team of ecologists reported to the Journal of Applied Ecology their findings on an ecological study surrounding forest mining. They found that abandoned mining pits in tropical forests had one of the worst rates of recovery ever recorded.
Author Dr Michelle Kalamandeen, researcher at Cambridge University who lead the research told Science Daily,
“This study shows that tropical forests are strongly impacted by mining activities, and have very little capacity to re-establish themselves following mining.”Dr. Michelle Kalamandeen
Worse, the mining process damages wildlife surrounding the forest. Mining often uses chemicals such as mercury to determine the quality of the minerals in the ground. The problem is, this mercury and other chemicals run into surrounding lakes and rivers. Mercury is harmful to plant life and deadly to sea life. The long-term effect of these mercury deposits is serious contamination of the water. This presents a serious interruption to the ecosystem.
Oil pipelines wreak havoc and destruction.
Miners aren’t the only ones digging around under Rain Forests for financial gain. Oil companies also tear into the forests searching for new sources of oil. When found, they will purposely uproot miles of forest in order to install pipelines. In addition to being disruptive, oil companies are dangerous to Rain Forests. They present a constant risk of pipeline leakage. When pipelines leak, oil escapes into the ground. Oil renders the soil unable to grow plant life of any kind. Also, in the case of a pipeline rupture, miles of forest land will be damaged.
Oil from a pipeline leak or rupture can also spill into surrounding lakes and rivers. Such a disaster will, once again, contaminate the water and destroy the ecosystem.
Why save the Rain Forests?
According to rainforestconcern.org, more than 18 million hectares of Rain Forest are being destroyed every year. To put that statistic into better perspective, 18 million hectares is the size of the country of England the country Wales. The reason for our efforts to save the Rain Forest is “clear”.
I mean that literally…the reason to save the Rain Forests is oxygen! Rain forests are the earth’s natural air filters. Living plants remove carbon dioxide and other kinds of pollutants from the air. In return, they produce oxygen. Rainforest concern lists that deforestation is responsible for 17% of global carbon emissions.
For instance, the Rain Forest located near the Amazon River is referred to as the “lungs” of planet earth. Yet, the gold mining taking place there severely limits the Amazon’s ability to regrow forests. This greatly impacts Amazon’s ability for carbon accumulation. Sciencedaily.com estimates that deforestation due to mining is responsible for an annual loss of more than 2 million tons of forest carbon.
Rain forests are home to more than half of the world’s animal species.
An article by livescience.com states that earth’s rain forests are home to more than half of the world’s animal species. Therefore, if those forests are clear-cut, millions of species will be displaced. Many of these species, ounce outside of their natural habitat, will become extinct. Many animal species living in the Rain Forests have yet to be identified.
Moreover, all plant and animal species are part of a much larger ecosystem. This includes everything from the largest land-dwelling animal to the smallest vertebrate. If you remove one link in a chain, the chain weakens. Dr Michelle Kalamandeen emphasized this point in her study with Cambridge University stating in the report,
“Our results clearly show the extraction process has stripped nitrogen from the soil, a critical component to forest recovery, and in many cases directly contributed to the presence of mercury within neighboring forests and rivers…
Active mining sites had on average 250 times more mercury concentrations than abandoned sites… Not only does this have serious consequences for our battle against global warming by limiting Amazonian forests’ ability to capture and store carbon, but there is also a larger implication of contaminating food sources especially for indigenous and local communities who rely on rivers.“Dr. Michelle Kalamendeen
Save the Rain Forests • avoid products which support deforestation.
It is time for you to start checking your food labels. Many product websites will identify where their products were produced. Some of the food products you consume every day support deforestation. For example, a lot of the grain used in products from tropical countries is grown on land that was once a Rain Forest. The same is true for much of the tropical fruit that is shipped around the world. This includes fruit such as bananas, pineapple, palm oil, and sugar cane. Many of these items are grown on former Rain Forest land.
Another example is much of the Amazon basin was clear-cut to build cattle ranches. Today, meat products produced at those ranches are frozen, packaged, and shipped all over the world. Instead of ordering online, buy your meat from a local market that purchases from local farms. Also, check the list of ingredients for products that may have been produced on land that was once a rain forest. With a little research, you will know that you’re not supporting deforestation.
Save the Rain Forests • advocate on social media regularly.
You can fight the decimation of the world’s rain forests by raising awareness. Most people have heard vague statements about how important it is to save Rain Forests. But not all the people in your social network are well-versed in what’s happening to the Rain Forest and why. The more people become aware that the rain forests are important to you, this issue will likely become important to them.
You can also share resources to let your social media audience know how they can get involved. Perhaps you can share an article or two from the Rain Forest Foundation’s social media site. Or share an article about how people in your network can lower their carbon footprint. Each person’s effort to lower their carbon emissions contributes to the overall goal of lowering the amount of carbon in the area.
And be sure to like and subscribe to Rain Forest advocate platforms on YouTube and Instagram. You will bring more attention to their sites by adding to their audience numbers. Here are a few social media websites to check out:
Save the Rain Forests • stop the destruction.
Rather than being something new, destruction is a behavior that’s been inherent in human beings for a very long time. Supply, demand, and the importance of money in our society are what cause it. The thing is, we don’t need more. We need to share more of what we have with each other.
But beware, because the thrill of “having more” is now invading our lives with undesirable consequences. Unfortunately, those consequences threaten every living being on this planet.
Cooperation vs conquering.
Humans glorify explorers and scientists but then ignore their warnings. As a result, the earth is literally being destroyed by its own inhabitants. All for the sake of continuing to conquer and fill deep pockets.
Moreover, we humans claim to be the most intelligent of all species of life on earth. However, to date, we are also the most destructive by leaps and bounds of any other species in the known history of the world.
Now we must all do what we can.
Humans are the direct cause of the destruction of the rain forests. Never-the-less, we must now all do our part to Save the Rain Forests in any way, big or small, that each of us can do.
Resources for this post.
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