Deforestation represents one of the leading global crises that we are facing today. But one may ponder, what exactly is deforestation and why is it a problem? Deforestation is the permanent removal of trees and forests for human habitation, agriculture, wood making and so on.
A recent study reveals that approximately 900 million trees are cut down each year, which equates to 2.47 million trees a day. This is what’s causing 80% of global warming. With this rate, rainforests run the risk of being completely wiped out within 100 years.
The consequences we are to face because of our poor use of the Earth’s resources are catastrophic; floods are said to increase by 20-24%, with more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere people become more prone to respiratory diseases, the ocean is to be become more acidic which could make it uninhabitable for marine wildlife, and not to mention a great decline in our quality of life.
Every one of us can impact the Earth. It’s the simple things that make a difference, like using less paper, purchasing products that do not contain palm oil, printing only what is necessary and reading off our laptops and computers. Simply taking a walk in the countryside, away from all of our electronics and modern-day devices, and appreciating the real beauty of the world, will make you see the world from a different lens. It has also been scientifically proven that being exposed to nature for a couple of minutes every day can help reduce stress and improve one mental health.
Martin O’Malley once proclaimed, “Reversing deforestation is complicated; planting a tree is simple.” Yes, planting a tree has its benefits to a rapidly warming planet, like filtering the air from greenhouse effects. But…it’s not all about planting trees. Preserving them is much more important. Younger trees cannot do things older trees can, for example, providing homes for a wide range of animals, producing large amounts of seeds that serve as food for other animals and replenish tree populations, unlike young trees that could take as much as 3 years to produce mature seeds. Older trees also have a larger root capacity to store Carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the main polluter in our atmosphere. So, whilst the cultivation of trees is always beneficial, there is a high prospect that the tree that you are planting today will not serve a significant purpose to our environment until many decades to come.
It’s not too late. It’s up to us if we want to protect what’s left of the planet we once called “home” – the ball is in our court!
Written by Justine Formosa Form 4