One look at a photo of the Earth from space and two distinct colors jump out: blue and green. Our planet is almost entirely covered in water and in vegetation. In fact, so much land is covered by plants, some 30 percent of the Earth’s surface, that we sometimes get the impression it is endless. Anyone who has spent some time in a large forest can certainly attest to this sensation. However, it is quite clear that this concept of the infinite is simply not true and the effects of deforestation are being felt around the world.
Vegetation is cleared for a variety of reasons. Wood is a valuable resource demanded all around the world, but much of the forests that are destroyed are removed to make room for agriculture or for the expansion of human settlements. This has immense effects on the future of the planet. Trees and other plants absorb Carbon Dioxide and are a key way towards fighting climate change. Also, millions of different species rely on these environments as their habitats and deforestation destroys this and puts global biodiversity in serious jeopardy. Here are some facts to get an idea of just how serious this problem is:
Every minute, 20 football fields of forest are cut down
Up to 28,000 species are expected to become extinct in the next quarter century due to deforestation
Deforestation is equal to between 12-14 percent of global greenhouse emissions
It is estimated that in 100 years there will be no more rainforests
This is not about saving the planet. The planet was here long before humans and it will remain long after humans. Instead it is about finding our place on this planet and learning to coexist with nature instead of focusing on how to dominate and destroy it.
By now it is relatively common knowledge that something needs to be done to protect the environment, yet many of us are unclear as to what we can do. It seems like such a large task that our efforts seem so small. However, this can change. By providing people with the opportunity to connect to nature, to help clean it up and to see the impact of our daily consumption, they can begin to understand how big even the smallest effort can be.
Connecting with a cause as big and as important as this is essential if humans are to find our place on this planet.