Environmental Projects & Sustainability
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Undercover Hippie Archive:
John Karnish, our Undercover Happy Hippie Writer!
RAINFORESTS, THE LIFEBLOOD OF THE PLANET
Tropical Rainforests are located near the equator and the location is essential. The temperature must be above 80 degrees year-round for the climate and fauna of forests to survive. Rainforests thrive with life of all kinds. The earths rainforests only make up 7% of the earths surface but contain enough resources to support 50 to 70% of the earths creatures. There are thousands to millions of insects, still unnamed, that call the rainforests home. Also, one hectare of land in Kenyas Kakamegas Forest "contains 100 to 150 different tree species," while a North American forest contains about ten."
Besides supporting all this life, theyre crucial to our own. Rainforests absorb most of the carbon dioxide in our air, changing it to a form we can breath. The plants and animals that abide in these forests can only be found in their native habitat and contain the only cures to certain diseases. In fact, "the vine Aucistrocladus Koropensis may be effective in treating AIDS." The rainforests are more economically important standing, than cut down, but that is not stopping many from taking more than their share of the forests.
One reason the forests are being cleared is to make room for farmland. Most of the farmers around the rainforests are very poor and since they cant afford to buy farmland, they cut down the forest to create a place to plant their crops. However, the soil of the rainforests is poor for farming. Once the vegetation is removed, the ground very quickly becomes dry and barren. The soil is only good for the plants in the forests and horrible for crops. Also, the soil is barren after the first year, requiring cutting down more of the rainforests for suitable farmland.
Another threat to the rainforests is cattle ranching. Rainforest land can be acquired very cheaply for cattle ranching and since the process is profitable, the destruction continues. Probably the biggest factor destroying the rain forests is supplying wood for paper, furniture and homes. Some might argue that the forest will grow back, but the large varieties of animals they hold will not.
Cutting down the forests can have horrible effects, besides losing land so rich with life. In 1996, it was estimated that the worlds rain forests were disappearing at a rate of 80 acres per minute. When the vegetation is cut down, carbon dioxide is emitted into the air, increasing the temperature. When the temperature increases enough, the ice caps will melt causing higher sea levels and major worldwide flooding. There are also indigenous people in the forests, cut off from society, who need the forests to survive. The natives of the Amazon Rain Forest dropped to 200,000 today, from one million at the turn of the century.
One way to protect rain forests is by avoiding furniture made of "rosewood, mahogany, ebony, and teakwood, because they most likely came from the rainforests." The best way to prevent destruction to the forests is by worldwide boycotts of companies who continue to exploit them. We should also support companies who donate earnings to protecting their existence.
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