There have been so many discussions about the effects of deforestation on our environment. These effects range from alarming to catastrophic. We have read headlines that show the havoc that natural disasters have caused. Floods have not only damaged millions of properties around the world but have claimed lives. Landslides have done the same. These two phenomena are the result of an imbalance in nature – they are the consequences of deforestation.
Deforestation is the conversion of pieces of the forest into residential or industrial areas. More and more business people are traversing forests to obtain more land. The environment is being sacrificed in exchange for profit. And this is an alarming fact.
As an individual or as part of the global community, you can help prevent deforestation. You may not be able to fight illegal loggers with your bare hands, but with a few simple ways, you can make a difference – no matter how small. Here’s a list:
1. If deforestation is an adverse event, then a positive event must occur to counteract its effects – reforestation. Plant trees and start doing this in your garden. Trees give off oxygen that is essential for human existence, and they, in turn, capture the carbon dioxide that people and animals exhale. Trees also help retain water in their roots. With this simple action, you can prevent soil erosion, which is the root cause of landslides!
2. Use recycled materials, such as books, notepad paper, toilet paper and even grocery bags. If you can, don’t waste any of these products so that new raw materials are not needed to replace them.
3. If you are a farmer (or if you know someone who works as a farmer), try to rotate your crops. Instead of using a different part of the land each year, why not use the same part with other crops? This practice also helps to maintain soil fertility. With crop rotation, not only is there a variation on the harvest each year, but there is also the opportunity to keep that part of the soil for as long as you can.
4. Cut only the mature trees. Don’t kill young trees. And for every tree lost, plant a new one as a replacement.
5. 5. Join environmental groups that help you be an advocate for reforestation. In Washington, specifically at Washington Middle School, a group of students created a service-learning project. In their project, they asked for a nickel from everyone. They explained that this money would help purchase acres of rainforest in the Amazon. Once this is through, there can be no more deforestation in that purchased area.
6. There is a report that more and more trees are being cut down in Indonesia and Malaysia to produce palm oil. This massive destruction in both countries’ forests has resulted in the loss of habitat for the native orangutans. With the loss of more trees, more animals become homeless. You can’t help prevent this completely, but you can limit your consumption of products containing palm oil, such as bread, chocolate, and even some cosmetics like shampoo, soap, or toothpaste. As for your food consumption, you can start with a diet of roasted or boiled foods instead of deep-frying them.
7. Instead of using firewood, use coal to heat your fireplace in the winter. Remember that it only takes a few hours to consume firewood, but it would take years to grow a single tree. Think twice before re-buying firewood.
8. Support the laws or programs created to protect the forests and stop any form of deforestation. Programs like the Tropical Forests Action Plan have made a big difference in how deforestation is viewed today. This program spearheaded the discussion on tropical deforestation.
It is of utmost importance to know that there is no such thing as a small, insignificant act for stopping deforestation. No matter how small your act is, the important thing is that “every act can make a difference. Deforestation can prevent, and you can be an active force in making that happen.