An Earth Day Lesson on Where Have All the Forests Gone?



An Earth Day Lesson on Where Have All the Forests Gone?

Scientists have discovered that forest trees offer unexpected help in the fight  against climate change. Tropical rain forests are soaking up more carbon dioxide pollution that anybody realized. Almost one-fifth of our fossil fuel emissions are absorbed by forests across Africa, the Amazon and Asia,  suggests Simon Lewis, a climate expert at the University of Leeds, who led a a laborious study of the girth of 70,000 trees across Africa.

David Ritter, senior forest campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said, “This research reveals how these rain forests are providing a huge service to mankind by absorbing carbon dioxide from our factories, power stations and cars. The case for forest protection has never been stronger.”

And yet we continue to cut them down across the world at an alarming rate!

What will happen when we lose natures best carbon filters?

 

As a nature nut, I feel compelled to address these very questions in this Earth Day lesson, because up until now, truly had not understood the serious impact we humans have had on the very things in nature that can save us from destruction, like rain forests …up until now, that is.

I’m grateful to have joined an incredibly talented and caring circle of people through on-line social networking who have inspired me to learn all about Earth Day, connect with the people involved in it and take action on what I’ve learned by celebrating Earth Day Birthday. This Earth day Lesson is written with the intention to inspire you to do the same.

Having just recently moved to Australia, I was fortunate enough to experience a wild rain forest filled with several waterfalls on a friend’s property. It was an experience that will stay with me forever because we can not feel the power of a special place like this and not intuitively know we have a duty to protect this amazing life form from destruction. The desire to share the spirit which envelops it is intense!

I intuitively knew I must share the experience, as well as my research as to what has been discovered about rain forests and their role in overcoming the challenge of global warming and the extinction of species.

Is “Deforestation” a Dirty Word?

It’s pretty easy to understand why deforestation has gotten a bad rap!

For example…

  1. Excessive commercial logging and clear cutting. These obvious moneymaking acts are rampant and the greedy business people make the bottom line their priority, regardless of its illegality and obvious wrong-doing.
  2. What happens to the animals! Trees are home to many species, including indigenous humans, who suddenly become homeless and often, extinct! Not to mention the demise of many plants which are natural wonders, many with healing properties. 
  3. One major effect of deforestation is climate change.  Deforestation has been found to contribute to global warming…the process when climates around the world become warmer as more harmful rays of the sun comes in through the atmosphere.

Changes to the earth as a result deforestation work in various ways:

One fact most people don’t realize is the abrupt change in temperatures it  causes in the nearby areas. Forests naturally cool because they help keep moisture in the air. Some forget, also, about the water table underneath the ground. The water table is the common source of natural drinking water by people living around forests. Water table could dry up if not replenished regularly. When there’s rain, forests hold the rainfall to the soil through their roots, then the water sinks in deeper to the ground, replenishing the water table.

What do you suppose will happen when there are not enough forests anymore?

Water from rain will simply flow through the soil surface and not be retained by the soil. Or the water from rain will not stay in the soil longer, since the process of evaporation will immediately set in. Not good, right? I think we’d all agree that the need for drinking water is NOT negotiable.

So, if deforestation is so bad…why are we still allowing it?

 

Even though the word “deforestation” itself conjures up negativity and destruction, people don’t seem to realize that there are actually quite a few benefits of deforestation.

Just imagine what it would be like to live without the use of lumber. Wood is one of the most basic natural resources, and it is renewable simply by growing more trees. The trick is to balance it’s consumption by growing more trees to replace the ones removed. This is not, however, such an easy task.

With thousands of people losing their jobs, just imagine if the wood industry were to suddenly find themselves jobless. There are the people who cut down trees and process them and those who “clean up” after them. As forest is cut down, arable land becomes available for farmers, or used as an area to place urban living sites like apartments, houses, and buildings. If mandates are made for replanting trees, then jobs are also provided for the people performing that service.

With arable land being valuable for growing food, new land area provides a much needed place to grow a food supply to deal with the planet’s steadily expanding population of humanity. Additional living areas can be converted into more than just housing areas. Buildings can house offices for work, or factories to produce essential items, or even research facilities for things like new new medical or technological advances can end up in these deforested areas.

A colleague of mine, originally from Germany,  would make a strong argument for forestry as a full time profession that can maintain a never ending supply of wood, as has been done in Europe for thousands of years. “In these forests, nobody clear cuts anywhere and trees are selectively selected while the rest of the forest remains and new tree-seedlings are put where the cut trees were. Europeans would probably argue that there are so many desert areas in the world that could be populated similar to the valley of the sun around Phoenix where no trees have to be sacrificed.”

Great arguments from both sides, so how do we proceed?

Let’s look at the REAL causes of Global Warming for answers

 

It comes full circle, back to carbon dioxide and the need for nature’s most effective carbon filter…forests.

Just think…Each time we drive a car, each time we use electricity from coal fired power plants, use natural gas or oil to heat our homes, we cause carbon dioxide (CO2) to be released into the atmosphere, as well as other heat trapping gases. The concentration of CO2 has increased by 31 percent since industrialization of our society and atmospheric methane gas has increased by 151 percent, caused mainly from agricultural activities like growing rice and breeding cattle.

As the concentration of these gases increases more heat is generated and trapped in the atmosphere.  The increase in trapped heat alters our climate causing changed weather patterns which can bring unusually intense rainfall (precipitation) leading to flooding and severe storms, long dry spells leading to drought conditions and forest fires the like we just witnessed in the Australia Bush fires of 2009.

So what’s the solution?

There is no one best solution. Humans have been clearing forests over thousands of years for a variety of reasons. Obviously, as the statistics suggest above, much of the bad effects we experience today are happening at warp speed, so we really can’t afford to take our time in changing our ways.

Each of us can do something! Individually we can do small things…but together we can make a huge contribution to creating and implementing positive solutions. One has only to get on-line and Google the terms Earth Day or Earth Day Birthday to research, connect, watch, listen, take part and take action along with millions of other caring souls, government entities, non-profit associations and conscientious companies who are not letting any “grass grow under their feet”.

Earth Day, which was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an “environmental teach-in” in 1970, is celebrated each year on April 22, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting the status of environmental issues onto the world stage.

Events are happening in every corner of the earth. Attend one!

Mankind needs Mother Earth. Mother Earth needs you to participate! Can you put aside just $10.00 for a gift to give your Mother Earth on her birthday, April 22nd, 2009?

 

Debbie Ducic, also known as GutZy Woman, gently, supportively and passionately helps “GutZy Women (and Brave men)” overcome their fear and frustration of technology and multimedia marketing in order to be more successful in their businesses, fund raising efforts and lives. Debbie has expanded her reach and her professional resources by becoming an evangelist for socially conscious, eco-minded movements and she can be contacted through her website: http://www.gutzywomen.com . More valuable resources and information from Debbie as well as 49 other GutZy Web Women can be immediately accessed by downloading the “Attraction in Action, Volume 2” book at her blog: http://www.debbieducic.com

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