Day 173 – We lose 40 football fields worth of rainforests every minute. In less than 10 years, there may only be 10% of rainforest left. We have already lost over 9 million acres.
So, why should we care about the rainforests?
- Rainforests absorbs carbon dioxide and release the oxygen that we depend on for our survival. The absorption of this CO2 also helps to stabilize the Earth’s climate.
- Rainforests help to maintain the world’s water cycle by adding water to the atmosphere through the process of transpiration which creates clouds.
- Tropical rainforests contain over 30 million species of plants and animals. That’s half of the Earth’s wildlife and at least two-thirds of its plant species. There’s thousands of species that have not been identified, yet.
- Many indigenous people have been living in harmony with the rainforest for thousands of years, depending on it for their food, shelter and medicines. They are often forced to move away from their homes to unfamiliar places, sometimes even being killed in the process.
- it is believed that the Amazonian forests alone store over half of the Earth’s rainwater. Without rainforests continually recycling huge quantities of water, feeding the rivers, lakes and irrigation systems, droughts would become more common, potentially leading to widespread famine and disease.
- Soil in the rainforest is very poor in nutrients. What little nutrients it has comes from decaying trees and plants. However, if trees are removed from the forest, the nutrients are removed with it. The unprotected soil is then simply washed away in heavy rains, causing blockages and floods in lowland rivers, while leaving upland rivers dry.
- More than 25% of our modern medicines originate from tropical forest plants. However, we have only learned how to use 1% of these amazing plants.
What can we do to help protect the rainforests?
- Many rainforest are cleared to make room for cattle. Reducing your beef intake and buying your meat from local farms that use sustainable practices will help.
- Choosing products that are responsibly sourced or made from recycled materials can go a long way to curbing tropical deforestation. You can also refrain from purchasing products from companies who score poorly in terms of eliminating deforestation from their supply chains.
- It’s best to buy less. But when you do buy, choose companies that donate to environmental causes.There are hundreds of companies – specializing in a variety of products – that give back to the environment. Certified B Corporations has narrowed down some of the best.
- Buying artisanal and fair trade products made by indigenous peoples is a unique and effective way to protect rainforests and sustainable livelihoods.
- Reduce your carbon footprint. Drive less, take public transportation, turn down your home thermostat (even a couple degrees makes a big difference!), turn off lights and electronics when not in use, and avoid unnecessary air travel, can all help reduce carbon emissions.
- Whenever you cannot reduce, you can mitigate by supporting projects that offer carbon emissions reductions by keeping forests standing.
- Share what you know. The more people that know what is happening to rainforests and the indigenous communities who rely on them, the more likely they are to join and support the cause.
So, on this World Rainforest Day make a choice to do something to help protect the rainforests.
Tomorrow, an organization that you most likely have not heard about, but has been working hard to keep you safe.