Today the world celebrates the International Day of Forests, a global celebration providing a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests. The day declared by the United Nations, has different themes each year and this year highlights the importance of wood energy in improving people’s lives, powering sustainable development and mitigating climate change.
Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects, yet the horrific fact is that the world’s rain forests are currently disappearing at a rate of 6,000 acres every hour (equal to about 4,000 football fields per hour, and 67 per minute).
Amazon rainforest prior to deforestation. Image from Rainforest Foundation
Amazon rainforest after deforestation. Image from Rainforest Foundation.
Animals go extinct
When forests are cut down, the plants and animals that live in the forests are destroyed and killed, and some species are at risk of getting extinct. According to the World Wildlife Fund both the orang-utan and the Sumatran tigers are critically endangered and are at risk being extinct within years.
Image from World Wildlife Fund
Rainforests sequester carbon and as trees are cut down there are less to absorb the carbon humans push into the air. The balance of our earth’s eco-system is seriously disrupted. We need the rain forests to produce oxygen and clean the atmosphere to help us breathe.
We also know that the earth’s climate can be affected, as well as the water cycle.
Rainforests also provide us with many valuable medicinal plants, and may be a source of a cure from some deadly diseases. Along with this loss and degradation, we are losing some 135 plant, animal and insect species every day or some 50,000 species a year as the forests fall. Everything is connected and we need to realize that in fact we are killing ourselves and not only our planet!
Call To Action, what can you do:
- Be a smart consumer – avoid to buy products containing any form of palm oil, often disguised as ”vegetable oil” in the list of contents. Be extra careful when it comes to chocholate, crisps, cookies and nuts/candy.
- Use Your Voice! As a citizen you can make your voice heard and share your concerns about the palm oil industry – put pressure on your local store, on companies, governments and manufactures to make them take action.
- Spread the word and educate your friends and community about pam oil!
Together we can make a difference!