I think that we can all agree that unless you've been living under a rock or are willfully uninformed (ahem, DT) it is common knowledge that trees and the preservation of the world's forests are absolutely crucial to the health of our planet and ecosystem. This has been drilled into our brains since at least the time that I was in kindergarten (way back in the dark ages/1980s), a simpler time when we got our information either from Sesame Street, the not-so-nice kindergarten teachers of yore who were more like drill sergeants, of if you went to French Immersion school, from a dancing pineapple on TVO aptly named Anana.
Whatever the source, it's unanimous: We need trees, people! But it's easy to forget exactly why trees are so GD important and what they do for us on many levels. So we thought it might be helpful to give you (and ourselves) a reminder of exactly what the impact of deforestation is and why it's so crucial to counteract it.
Let's start with some basic facts about the state of the earth's forests (or lack thereof):
1) Forests cover 30% of the earth's land (for now).
2) Every minute, a forest the size of 20 football fields is cut down.
3) If things continue the way they are, in 100 years there will be no more rainforests.
4) Agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation. So is logging, bio fuel extraction (for things like palm oil used in most beauty products), fuel production, the building of highways and roads, as well as mining.
Now let's imagine what a world without trees would look like:
1) Global Warming would get way, way worse. Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas that causes global warming. We've destroyed approximately half of the earth's trees and already we're feeling the effects of global warming. So, yeah. You would basically have to live in a bunker. Or Mars.
2) 70% of the world's plant and animal species come from forests, and particularly from rainforests. So if we lose our rainforests, all of those plants and animal species would die. Also, more than 25% of the world's medicines come from plants discovered in the rainforest and we've only explored 1% of the those plants. So if you want to even have a chance for
3) Forests prevent flooding and erosion of large landmasses by soaking up rainfall. In areas that have been deforested, you can pretty much guarantee there will be flooding because there are no longer trees and roots to absorb the excess water. And in the areas that aren't flooding, the soil becomes completely dried out due to overexposure to the sun, which means it can't be farmed (i.e., useless land) and also produces contaminants which then leak into our water systems when it rains, reducing the quality of drinking water for the surrounding populations. Not good.
So unless you're keen on seeing what it would be like to live like Kevin Costner in Waterworld, by now you're wondering what you CAN do to counteract deforestation. Don't worry, we've got you covered! Here are 3 oh-so-easy steps to start incorporating into your life today to help conserve and rebuild the world's forests:
1) Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Yes, this is another throwback to the 80s, but it's one that still stands true today. If you reduce the amount of products you consume that come from trees, reuse the ones that you do consume, and most importantly recycle everything you can, you will participate in reducing the demand for tree products like virgin paper and wood. In practical terms this means: Buy newspapers, magazines and books online. Buy products made out of recycled materials as much as possible to show companies that you will not support the unnecessary use of virgin paper and wood. And buy furniture made from wood that is FSC-certified so that you know it was legally cut down.
2) Eat Less Meat. No matter which angle you come at it from, it is resoundingly clear that reducing your red meat consumption is better for the planet. When it comes to preserving trees, the reason this is impactful is because it reduces the amount of grazing land to be cleared for cows and livestock. Less meat=less trees cut down.
3) Plant More Trees. There are so many organizations dedicated to reforestation you can donate to, and many companies across the globe are partnering with these organizations to replant trees on a wide scale. To completely toot our own horn, GoJava has jumped on that bandwagon and as of September 2017, we will be planting 1 tree for every order we receive. So if you order from us, you can feel so good about yourself for not only recycling your coffee pods, but also for planting a tree, that you can treat yourself to something nice like an eco-friendly pair of shoes made out of sustainable bamboo. Or maybe just an ice cream.
Thank you for reading and helping us to plant more trees! If you have any topics you'd like us to shed some light on, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep It Green!
From The GoJava Team