As this blog comes to an end, I want to emphasize how important rain forests are in everyone’s life.
Rainforests cover only 12% of the Earth but they are home to between 50 and 90% of all the worlds species. Due to the deforestation and things like oil drilling, the rate of extinction is 400 times greater than any other time in history. What does that mean exactly? An estimated 1-30 species PER DAY disappears.
“Some foods that originated in the rainforests include coffee, cocoa, many fruits and nuts, spices, rice, and other products such as rubber, gums, resins, dyes, tannins and cane. Of an estimated 75,000 edible plants found in nature, only 150 enter world commerce and only 20 (mostly domesticated cereals) stand between human society and starvation. This makes modern agriculture extremely vulnerable to pests, diseases and changes in climate. Genes from wild plants can be used to fortify modern varieties against this vulnerability. Without rainforests, this opportunity is lost, as is the chance to develop entirely new food plants.”(rainforestinfo.org)
The rainforests also regulate climate systems, by releasing moisture to the environment, which brings rain. When deforestation occurs, the water cycle is interrupted leading to temperature increases, increased droughts, and eventually deserts may form. Some experts say that as much as 19% of greenhouse gas emissions are due to deforestation practices.
25% of all modern drugs first were found in the rainforests. There is still between 75 and 99% of tropical plants that still HAVEN’T been tested for pharmaceutical benefits. That is a huge amount of potentially life saving medicines left to be discovered. 70% of all plants that have some sort of anti-tumor properties are found from the rainforest. The answers to cancer cures can be waiting there for us to find, but unless we do something to preserve and protect our rainforests, they will gone forever.
This is an account from a World Rainforest Report (#26):
“Starting with twigs from a Malaysian gum tree, researchers in 1991 isolated a compound that blocked the spread of the AIDS virus in human cells. The team sent biologists racing back to Malaysia for more samples from the tree. But when they got to the swamp, the tree was gone, it had been cut down. And no tree found since has produced the same compound. No identical trees have been found in the immediate area and samples from the same species found elsewhere did not yield the same compound.”
50 million of the world’s 350 million indigenous people call the rainforest home. As we saw from previous posts, modern techniques can and will kill off these populations at an increasing rate. Damaging their living environment takes away their ONLY source of food, medicine and water. Unlike others, they can’t rely on trade and food from other areas. They only have themselves and what surrounds them. Because of this, they don’t even have the means to stand up for themselves! It is left in the hands of citizens who do hold the power to make a difference.
They need people like us to raise awareness to this growing issue and put a stop to the deforestation and drilling of the remaining rainforests.
This came as quite a shock to me-
Between 1981 and 1990, seventeen million hectares were destroyed each year. The same period saw the rate of tropical forest loss double. If this rate of increase in defore- station were to continue, all remaining tropical forests would be destroyed in less than thirty years. (Rainforest Information Centre, 1991).
People need to realize that raiding these rainforests for materials like oil and logs, will eventually cause the rainforests to cease to exist. Once these are gone, you can bet that human existence will soon follow. We rely on the food that comes from there, the plants and soil help strengthen existing crops so they are more resistant to disease. We need their medicine and and climate regulating properties.
People can see how many useful things are in the rainforest, and that’s the main reason for it’s destruction. What they don’t see is that these resources are not unlimited, they will run out, and unfortunately once they do, they will be gone forever.
Chevron & John Watson this starts with you – taking responsibility for the largest oil contamination in history can help restore what is left in the drilled area of Ecuador. It will save the remaining natives life, and help preserve one of the most important places on Earth. If they don’t clean up properly, the Ecuadorian Amazon area will be the next to go.
Here are some pictures of lovely, untouched rainforests. This is how the should remain!