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International day of forests is the one calendar date you don’t want to miss…
The UN General Assembly’s International Day of Forests takes place on March 21st each year to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests across the globe.
Relevant organisations including the United Nations Forum on Forests, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and others group together to run the event and encourage countries to undertake local, national and international action involving forests and trees.
Forests (particularly the Amazon) make up the lungs of the Earth, and for good reason. Both trees and lungs are responsible for bringing oxygen in and helping get rid of waste gases with every exhale. Without lungs we cannot live- and the same goes for trees.
Deforestation is when trees are cut down to clear land and make room for something other than forests.
Make room for farmland (crops)
Make room for farmland (animals)
Infrastructure (property, transport links, facilities)
Resources (firewood, paper, cardboard, fuel)
Building Materials (timber, wood)
Food (palm oil, superfoods, fruits, nuts and seeds)
With 80,000 acres of forests disappearing every day, the Earth is crucially suffering. With no trees to stabilise the soil, landmass is rapidly eroding and essential nutrients in the soil are being lost.
Not only is the planet suffering, so are the people living amongst forest territory. Tribes that live in the Amazon Rainforest are among those that have been hit the hardest. Many have lost rights to their land and have had their communities destroyed or polluted by production areas nearby that will be primarily used for meat or soya production.
Many are quick to cut down forests to meet the demands of the western climate. But it’s worth understanding what forests actually do for us and our planet?
We are all somewhat familiar with the biology of trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), removing and storing the carbon while releasing oxygen back into the air – but the amount is remarkable.
In a single year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 equivalent to a car that has driven 26,000 miles. Of course, if we keep deforesting trees, the levels of carbon dioxide can become toxic. Making it a primary playing in the global rising temperature, and causing a knock on effect regarding extreme weather and land damage.
Not only do trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, there is significant importance surrounding the actual carbon absorption process that protects the planet from damage. Protection that is critical to human welfare.
Key ways include absorbing harmful greenhouse gases that cause climate change – In tropical forests alone, a quarter of a trillion tons of carbon is stored in ground biomass.
Providing clean drinking water, water for bathing, and other household needs.
Serving as a buffer in natural disasters like flood and rainfalls as well as reducing or slowing the amount of erosion and chemicals that reach waterways.
Western societies are used to getting food, water, and shelter from the local supermarket but that doesn’t defeat the fact that they all come from a direct source – the forests. Over 2 billion people rely on forests, and for those that call the forest home, it doesn’t bode well to see land be torn from their very reach.
300 million people live in forests, including 60 million indigenous people. These tribal communities’ whole livelihood centres around living peacefully in rainforest territory. If western authorities with more money and power continue to overrun the rainforest, these people will lose their homes, jobs and families.
Not only is it home to a community of people, with over 100,000 invertebrate species alone, the rainforest is host to hundreds of thousands of animals. Without them ecosystems become severely disrupted and of course, the risk of extinction ten folds.
The quickest way to start stopping deforestation is to fight money with money. The reality is that indigenous communities and areas across the world where forestry is dense often lack the same money and influence that big cities and corporations operating within the forests have.
One of the primary issues currently occurring in Brazil is a heavy political debate about the climate-consciousness of Brazilian prime minister Jair Bolsonaro. Political debate aside, Bolsonaro has accepted money from large corporations who deforest the Amazon for production with hopes of said money boosting the Brazilian economy. With that in mind, it’s arguable that money is better invested in projects from organisations like The Rainforest Trust and The Worldland Trust that work directly in the Amazon to protect it from being deforested.
Around 70% of deforestation in the Amazon can be attributed to cattle ranching alone. Brazil itself is the world’s largest exporter of beef, with approximately 200 million pounds of the dense flank sent to the United States each year.
Eating less meat is a real life saving solution for both the Amazon and other forests that are cleared for animal agriculture. A report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that having a diet containing less meat could contribute 20% of the effort needed to reduce rising global temperatures.
Yes, palm oil isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. More on that another time. But to put this simply, the value of ecosystem services provided by forests are estimated to be $150 trillion which includes its richest resource- palm oil.
Most of deforestation’s primary drivers are commercial: agriculture, commodity production, and logging. The Southeast Asian island of Borneo has lost half of its forest cover from logging, fires, and development of palm oil plantations.
It’s not like we can completely eliminate our unsustainable habits- but there is a way to cope with the guilt. One way is by shopping and supporting sustainable brands.
Like always nothing is black and white, greenwashing is a real thing and many of the big brands are likely linked to deforestation in one way or another.
It’s a trend loved by all and one we hope is here to stay – tree planting. The give back initiative is the first we’ve seen that fully supports reforesting and rewilding. Much as tree planting is important, so is protecting what we can’t afford to lose!
At One Tribe we work to protect the Amazon rainforest and its peoples from deforestation.
Our rainforest projects aim to tackle many different issues within the Amazon rainforest which are crucial to preserving landmass and protecting the rainforests’ delicate ecosystems and indigenous communities.
All of our projects are driven by the help of the brands that partner with us at One Tribe to protect the rainforest. Each sale made from a brand linked to One Tribe sends a micro-donation to our service which is then passed on to our partners The Rainforest Trust who legally certify the work we do to protect the rainforest.
The Amazon Rainforest is the largest forest on Earth is now on the cusp of irreversible decline.
The Amazon has lost 17% of its forested area to agriculture alone in the past 40 years. And a recent study used satellite data to conclude that over 75% of the rainforest is in danger of losing its resilience to regenerate after stress.
It is important now more than ever to stop worsening the issue and PROTECT the rainforest from any further damage. For the world to be sustainable, we need to protect what we already have and replant what we use.
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