Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rainforests - When They Go, We go With Them

From the BBC:
The Brazilian government has announced a huge rise in the rate of Amazon deforestation, months after celebrating its success in achieving a reduction.

In the last five months of 2007, 3,235 sq km (1,250 sq miles) were lost....rising prices of raw materials and commodities could be spurring the rate of forest clearing, as more and more farmers saw the Amazon as a source of cheap land.

"The economic reality of these states indicate that these activities impact, without a shadow of a doubt, on the forest," she said.

The state of Mato Grosso was the worst affected, contributing more than half the total area of forest stripped.

How We Can Help

The Nature Conservancy offers us several ways to help - check it out.

Here's a fun fact:

"It is estimated that 1/3 to 1/5 of carbon dioxide pollution comes from tropical rainforest destruction.

This warming of the atmosphere will also cause problems with the sea levels because of melting ice caps and expansion of water. Sea levels are rising and it is estimated that by 2050 sea levels will rise to 1.5 metres, flooding many low-lying areas. It is estimated that by 2050, 150 million people in countries such as Holland, India and Bangladesh will be homeless."

Does anyone want the kind of wars that will take place when all of these people are in desperate need of food, land and shelter?

Why Should You Care About the Rainforest?

As the Nature Conservancy notes:

Wild and wondrous, rainforests extend from as far as Alaska and Canada to Latin America, Asia and Africa. They nurture thousands of plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth.....Besides providing food, water and air to the rest of the world, rainforests offer critical habitat for many of the Earth's most interesting and rare plants and animals. Read on for more rainforest facts:

  • Temperate and tropical rainforests help regulate the Earth's temperature and weather patterns.
  • Rainforests provide jobs to surrounding communities.
  • Rainforests contain many of the essential plants used in the treatment of cancer.
  • Fifty percent of the world's plants and animals can be found in the rainforest.

If there was ever a time to realize that our fates are all linked, it is now.


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