If you read my short biography, you’ll know the rainforest is important to my wife and I. It’s really a unique and special environment that offers humanity rich resources that come in many forms. It might be the oxygen we breathe. Medicine that fights cancer. Or carbon dioxide management. The list of benefits goes on and on and they are not simple benefits, they are core to our survival. Our lungs become useless if we don’t have clean air to breath.
I think it’s fair to say, we should all be concerned with saving the rainforest and we can do our part by making small changes to our lifestyles. Everyday we all make many decisions. Most may feel that they are minor and do not play a role in the big picture, but that’s wrong. Every decision we make contributes to future of our world. If everyone chose to live more consciously, the compounding results would be very powerful and beneficial to the common good.
PLANTS AND TREES PROVIDE OXYGEN
Trees and plants offer us beauty and shade on hot summer days but they also do much more. Through the amazing process of photosynthesis (Photo” is the Greek word for “Light,” and “synthesis,” is the Greek word for “putting together,”) trees use light, carbon dioxide and water to make sugar and oxygen. The plants use the sugar as food and the oxygen is breathed back out into the atmosphere. Planting more trees is a very easy way you can help the to preserve the rainforest and contribute clean oxygen. Groups like World Land Trust offer the opportunity to contribute to the restoration and protection of forests by planting trees.
Photosynthesis happens to EVERY tree, plant, and to some bacteria and algae, too. Without photosynthesis, plants and trees wouldn’t exist. Humans and animals do the exact opposite of photosynthesis. They breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. This means that we give plants more carbon dioxide, and they give us more oxygen. Without plants and trees we wouldn’t be able to survive, but there is enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that plants would still exist without us!
SMART PURCHASING AND WASTE REDUCTION SAVES TREES
You can help reduce the amount of waste by recycling recycling paper and making smart decisions when buying food. According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, “the single biggest direct cause of tropical deforestation is conversion to cropland and pasture, mostly for subsistence, which is growing crops or raising livestock to meet daily needs.” As roads are created in the rainforest they create new entry points that were previously accessible. Illegal and legal logging are another major factor in deforestation. When loggers have harvested an area’s valuable timber, they move on. It’s a domino effect.
Many people love coffee in the morning and some delicious spices when cooking, I know I do. Something to be aware of is the impact the demand for coffee and spices have. They are so high that areas of the rainforest are being cleared away to grow them.
The good news is you have some help when making purchasing decisions. The Rainforest Alliance have developed a certification program for products to help consumers know what is “rainforest safe”. The slogan says, follow the frog!
Each animal in the rainforest is important to the balance of its ecosystem. If you become of any illegal hunting or sale of animals that are removed from that natural habitat and sold as pets, be sure to report it. The most common ones are parrots and iguanas.
It’s important for all of us to recognize that purchasing the parts of poached animals in the rainforest or these live pets encourages that behavior to continue. Poacher hunt because there is money to be made and they need to support their families. As long as we live in monetary structure this will be a challenge. So, for now, if we all do our part to make sure there is no market for such activities, then the financial motivation for doing so should be greatly reduced.
We can also, write letters to Congress to encourage the government to place stricter laws on those who hunt illegally and remove animals illegally from the rainforest. You also need to write to encourage them to restrict how much land in the rainforest a company can clear as well as require them to plant new trees in the location afterwards.
Children should be taught from a very early age just how important the rainforest is to our well-being. They should learn what they can do to protect the rainforest as well as to appreciate how it helps keep the air clean, affects our water cycles, and affects the climate around the world.
With the rainforests being completely cleared away at the rate of more than 200,000 acres per day, we need to make some serious changes. Taking the right steps in our own lives and teaching our children to do the same will help ensure the rainforests and the animals that have a home there are able to survive for future generations.
Ultimately, we are part of nature and rely on it dearly. Taking care of it means we are taking care of ourselves.