Rainforests provide many important ecological services, carbon sequestration and habitats. They are vast lungs for the planet, creating oxygen and provide many products that we use every day. They are also very complex living systems, with thousands of species of plants and animals. Rainforests are in danger of disappearing from overuse. Once a rainforest has been logged, it can take hundreds of years to regrow to the complex ecosystem that it was. The world is interconnected, and humans must create space for awareness in daily consumer decisions. Many developing countries have enjoyed unlimited resources for a long time at the expense of the rainforest. The future of our extraordinary planet depends on each one of us making conscious consumer choices.
The rainforest has been called the “lungs of the plant” because it continuously converts pollution into oxygen, giving the earth clean air. I have spent time in the rainforest in Central America which has given me a greater understanding of how imperative it is that we protect the existing rainforest around the world. If deforestation of the rainforest continues, humans could see an end to the world’s rainforest in our lifetime [Source: Taylor].
The reason for rapid deforestation of the rainforest is impart due to logging for hardwoods, agriculture (both slash and burn agriculture) and export crops like banana, coffee, cacao, sugar and beef. When timber is not harvested sustainably the rainforest is destroyed, and so are all the medicinal plants and other resources [Source: Taylor]. The indigenous people that live in the rainforest are lost as well. A medicine man in the rainforest carries a library of knowledge about medical plants, animals and the ecosystem in the rainforest.
Consumers in the United States and other developing countries must put pressure on companies to use sustainable practices and reward companies and businesses that make ethical decisions. Grassroots campaigns have been successful in creating ethical business practices. Home Depot phased out its sale of old growth trees by consumer activist pressuring the company [Source: Common Dreams]. According to Greenpeace, we are losing the ancient rainforest at rapid rates, and an area of nature’s forest is cut down every two seconds [Source: Butler]. We have an obligation to future generations to protect the rainforest so they too can enjoy life on the planet. Find out why on the next page.