The market forces of globalization are invading the Amazon and threatening its future existence.
We can’t rely on world governments to preserve the world’s tropical forests and the ecological services they provide. It is up to organizations (like ARC) to educate, inspire and raise awareness leading the way with effective solutions and make determining the planet’s future a priority.
Here are some reasons why this is a global issue and why it matters:
Rainforests stabilize the climate
Scientific research has established a clear link between the health of the Amazon and climate patterns. The trees in the Amazon absorb and store large amount of carbon dioxide, one of the gases leading to global warming. When we cut down these trees we are not only destroying our clean air filtering system, we are releasing this carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. In fact, the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by clearing and burning tropical forests accounts for the world’s second largest source of human-driven greenhouse gas emissions. The conservation of tropical rain forests should be a priority world wide as it addresses the challenges we are facing due to climate change.
Rainforests provide resources
Healthy forests sustain us. We in the developed world rely on the rainforests as they supply us with food, fresh water, clean air and raw materials. Rainforests recycle huge quantities of water. In just one day, more than enough fresh water flows through the Amazon River to supply New York City for an entire year.
The cure to many diseases is held in our rain forests
Rainforests are home to hundreds of thousands of plants many of which have medicinal properties that can be used to fight human disease and ward off pests. 25% of our modern medicines come from tropical rainforest plants yet we only know how to use 1% of these plants. More than two-thirds of all medicines found to have cancer-fighting properties come from rainforest plants. As these trees and plants are being lost so is the knowledge of the medicinal properties of these plants.
Global biodiversity conservation is important
Rainforests are home to an estimated 50% of all life on the planet. In addition to being rich with species (many not yet discovered) the rainforest populations exhibit great genetic variation within the species. All the organisms that live in the rainforest including the plants, the animals, the fungi, and the single-celled organisms (such as bacteria) have a complex interplay. We have yet to understand how these species fit together, interact with other species in the rainforest ecosystem and how the rainforest ecosystem works with others across the world.
Our responsibility to future generations
We all share the responsibility of preserving the world’s flora and fauna for future generations. We need to appreciate the value of rainforests and the ecological services they provide such as mitigating floods, stopping soil erosion, and generating rainfall.