If you own anything from which news and broadcasts are easily updated, you would know that we, as a whole race, have just been exposed to such a tragedy that might effects our quality of life in a significant way.
What, why? What is happening, you might ask. Okay, we understand you might have been spending time in rural areas of the world; regions in which the dearly beloved internet has not been properly established; which is why you haven’t heard the biggest nightmare of the century. The Amazon had been burned up for quite a long time, reducing the area to a significant amount and has therefore been a global issue. However, from the title of the article, you should now have a pretty good idea of what we are about to tell you, and what really matters: How We Can Save the Rainforests.
First of all, let us tell you about the rainforests. A rainforest is characterized by high and continuous rainfall, with annual rainfall in the case of tropical rainforests between 2.5 and 4.5 meters (98 and 177 in), and definitions varying by region for temperate rainforests. The monsoon plays a significant role in creating the climatic conditions necessary for the Earth‘s tropical rainforests, which are distinct from monsoonal areas of seasonal tropical forest.
From 40% to 75% of all biotic species are indigenous to the rainforests. There may be many millions of species of plants, insects and microorganisms still undiscovered in tropical rainforests. Tropical rainforests have been called the “jewels of the Earth” and the “world’s largest pharmacy“, because over one quarter of natural medicines have been discovered there. Rainforests are also responsible for 28% of the world’s oxygen turnover, sometimes misnamed oxygen production, processing it through photosynthesis from carbon dioxide and consuming it through respiration.
A rainforest is a vital part of our life because it protects us from the impacts of Global Warming. What effect do they have on globally, exactly? Well, a natural rainforest emits and absorbs vast quantities of carbon dioxide. On a global scale, long-term fluxes are approximately in balance, so that an undisturbed rainforest would have a small net impact on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Sadly, no rainforest today can be considered to be undisturbed.
Human-induced deforestation plays a significant role in causing rainforests to release carbon dioxide, as do other factors which result in tree death, such as burning and drought. Some climate models operating with interactive vegetation predict a large loss of Amazonian rainforest around 2050 due to drought, forest dieback and the subsequent release of more carbon dioxide. Still in denial that we need to save the rainforests?
Another factor causing the loss of rainforest is expanding urban areas. Littoral rainforest growing along coastal areas of eastern Australia is now rare due to ribbon development to accommodate the demand for sea change lifestyles. Forests are being destroyed at a rapid pace. Almost 90% of West Africa‘s rainforest has been destroyed.
Since the arrival of humans, Madagascar has lost two thirds of its original rainforest. At present rates, tropical rainforests in Indonesia would be logged out in 10 years and Papua New Guinea in 13 to 16 years. According to Rainforest Rescue, an important reason for the increasing deforestation rate, especially in Indonesia, is the expansion of oil palm plantations to meet growing demand for cheap vegetable fats and biofuels. In Indonesia, palm oil is already cultivated on nine million hectares and, together with Malaysia, the island nation produces about 85 percent of the world’s palm oil.
Rainforests as well as endemic rainforest species are rapidly disappearing due to deforestation, the resulting habitat loss and pollution of the atmosphere. That is why we need to make serious attempts to save the rainforests.
Several countries notably Brazil, have declared their deforestation a national emergency. Amazon deforestation jumped by 69% in 2008 compared to 2007’s twelve months, according to official government data. This number has increased due to the recent devastating wildfire burning down a significant area of the Amazon, which is a really bad news for the humankind as it will undeniably impact our quality of life. Below are the impacts of climate change:
- Heat waves. Heat waves are long periods of time with above-normal temperatures. As the Earth warms, more areas will be at risk for hotter and more frequent extreme heat waves. Learn more about the link between climate change and extreme heat.
- Sea-Level Rise. Sea level has risen about 8 inches due to the melting of glaciers and ice sheets. The warming of seas and oceans is also making coastal storms more damaging. Scientists predict sea levels in the United States could rise 1 to 4 feet in the 21st century, and could be even higher if glaciers in Greenland or Antarctica melt especially quickly.
- Threats to habitats and animals. As temperatures warm, many plants and animals are migrating to higher elevations or away from the equator. Some animals may have difficulty moving or adapting to new habitats.
- These are large fires that burn vast amounts of forests and brush. When they are not controlled, wildfires can destroy homes and be deadly. The number of large wildfires and the length of the wildfire season have been increasing in recent decades. Find out how climate change will worsen wildfire conditions.
So, is there anything we can do to slow down Global Warming and save the rainforests? Well, there are two, actually: The first is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change by choosing cleaner ways to power our homes, offices, and cars, and being more efficient and less wasteful, we can produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
There are lot of things you can do to help, like turning off the lights when you leave a room to reduce the electricity you use, taking shorter showers to reduce the water you use (and the energy it takes to process, move, and heat it), planting a tree to absorb carbon dioxide, or recycling to reduce waste. For example, recycling aluminum is 90-95 percent more energy efficient than producing aluminum from raw materials.
The second is to prepare for life in a changing climate. We need to make sure our buildings, roads, businesses and all the services they use can withstand the climate changes that we can’t avoid. However, this is clearly an impossible task for the animal kingdom, and is therefore a rather selfish solution to the problem.
With so many negative impacts from a climate change, it is no wonder that rainforests hold a big part in saving the Earth’s ecosystem. So how can we save them from decreasing each and every year? According to The Rainforest Foundation US, there are apparently some things that we can do in effort of saving the rainforest:
- Say no to deforestation. One way to save the rainforest? Avoid palm oil. Palm oil, found in half of all processed foods in the world and many common household products, is a key contributor to rainforest deforestation. Read your food and product labels carefully and refuse to buy products with palm oil or insist on sustainable alternatives.
- Choose environmentally responsible products. It’s best to buy less. But when you do buy choose companies that donate to environmental causes.
- Buy responsibly sourced products. Logging is a major driver of long term rainforest destruction. Avoiding guitars, furniture and other products made from threatened rainforest woods like: Mahogany, Rosewood and Ebony is a great start, but avoiding all tropical hardwoods is even better.
- Create a habitat for migrating animals. Whether you have a backyard, balcony or window sill, you can help migrating birds on their way home. It’s easy and fun! Just plant native plants, bird and insect attracting flowers, or even just hang up a bird bath or bird house. All of these help migrating birds make it to the rainforests of Central and South America. By giving them food water and shelter or even just giving the insects they eat a little room to thrive you help the amazing migrations that our winged friends make every year.
- Support indigenous communities. Buying ethically sourced indigenous crafts, fair trade products, or visiting communities responsibly are both fun and effective ways to help the rainforest. They give you an opportunity to learn about new cultures, provide much needed income, and help the world learn about indigenous communities of the rainforest.
- Reduce your carbon footprint. The rainforest is extremely efficient at storing carbon. But it is also at great risk from climate change. There are many things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, like, driving less, taking public transportation, adjusting your home thermostat, or avoiding unnecessary air travel.
We hope this little article is educating enough for you to realize the importance of the rainforests and to start taking the long needed actions to save them from man-made harm in the years ahead, starting from now. Let’s take real steps to help our mother Earth and save the rainforests while we are still here. Stay good and stay eco-friendly!