Save the Rainforests

Length: 7 Pages 1652 Words

The destruction of the rainforests is one of the most crucial environmental issues of our time. It is also one of the most misunderstood and neglected. There has been so much propaganda and publicity attached to this crisis that “Save the Rainforests” is becoming almost as cliché as “Save the Whales.” Why don’t we take this problem more seriously? Is it because we, as Americans, simply don’t understand the devastating, long-terms consequences that continued deforestation of the rainforests would have? Is it because our own government is involved in the deforestation, either directly or by financing its development? Or is it because we live in a society of excessive consumption, oblivious to the problems that don’t directly affect us in some tangible way? The facts are out there, and the results of continued deforestation of tropical rainforests are very real and becoming more evident everyday. It is a tremendous global concern, one that we can only resolve by popping our protective bubble of ignorance and taking action. Rainforests are the Earth’s oldest living ecosystems. They cover only about 6% of the Earth’s land mass, yet they are home to more than half the plant and animal species in the world Continue...

Tropical deforestation also leads to global warming by destroying one of the Earth's only ways to absorb excess atmospheric carbon. There are dozens of beneficial reasons for protecting this land from deforestation, but I will touch on a two that I feel are particularly critical. One step towards saving them is to increase public knowledge of the importance of rainforest medicine. Medicine - The abundant botanical resources of tropical rainforests have already provided considerable medical advances, yet only one percent of the known plant and animal species have been examined and researched for the medicinal potentials. Join a program such as "Protect-an-Acre, an organization that gives small grants to communities of indigenous people living in the rainforest. They lie in the way we as humans have excessively and unsustainably consumed the Earth's natural resources. However, it is believed that the rainforest would only benefit from ecotourism if tourists' money can change land use patterns of the local people or sway corporations towards more sustainable activities. World Resource Institute, http:www. Clearing and burning rainforests releases vast amounts of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. Already in some deforested regions of Brazil, annual rainfall has dropped considerably. (RAN, 1999) Tourism dollars can provide much needed income for remote communities, improving living standards and thereby reducing the pressure to degrade the natural environment.