Human Impact

DEFORESTATION

Rainforests used to cover 14% of the Earth, and now we only have 6% left. Did you know? Every second, a section the size of a football field is cut down. Scientists estimate that in about 40 years, the 6% will be gone as well. In rainforests, the most valuable asset to people is the amount of wood. In time, the impacts of deforestation will become obvious. 

Already there are environmental and social impacts:
  • Environmental
    • Extinction- Many species and populations live in the tropical rainforest. Currently, the world is losing 137 species a day due to deforestation, which totals up to 50,000 species per year. 
    • Habitat Loss- The reason that causes organisms to disappear is the fact that they lose their homes through deforestation. Territory conflicts occur, as well as a depletion of food supply. 
    • Soil Erosion- When plants are removed, soil erosion occurs. Rain washes away nutrients in the soil. 
    • Climate Change- The tropical rainforest climate will be disrupted because it will turn into a hot and dry area. This poses a hazard to the native species. Carbon dioxide is also released into the atmosphere, which is already a problem. 
    • Pollution- The ground, air, and water become polluted from mining. 
  • Social
    • Many indigenous people live in rainforests. When they lose their homes due to deforestation, much culture goes with them as well. Deforestation hurts them because their natural resources for their way of life are taken away.
    • Many of the medicines that are used today come from the rainforest. By destroying the plants of the region, humans lose potential medicines that may help to cure diseases. Right now, 121 prescription drugs use plants as a remedy. Along with the loss of plants, knowledge of medicinal plants are lost as well. The indigenous people know the tropical rainforest inside and out, but as these indigenous people become older, they will lose the ability to pass the information along to the next generation. 
    • Struggles over racial and ethnic rights will happen, in addition to competition for land by companies.
WHAT CAN WE DO?

There are many ways the world can help to save the rainforest. One of the most effective methods is to start making a difference in our lives today. Small actions can eventually lead to a huge impact- if everybody took the time to care, we may still have a chance to preserve our Earth. 

Small Actions = A Big Difference
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Eat organic foods- many pesticides and insecticides kill off the insects that need nutrients as well.
  • Buy products that use "CERTIFIED" wood. This means that the wood was legally cut down. 
  • Wear jewelry that has not been mined, such as glass. 
  • Save electricity- Turn off lights, television, computers, and electronic appliances when they are not in use. Another way is to unplug chargers!
  • Save water- Taking long baths and showers waste a great amount of water. Showers are a better alternative for the environment. 
  • When going to the grocery store, use a reusable canvas bag instead of taking the plastic bags at the store. 






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