Sunday newspapers are easily the best. Lots of news, lots of comic, lots of good crossword puzzles…but sadly, lots of trees. On the average sunday, over 500,000 trees are lost just to make the newspapers we read. 500,000 per week, for one day. Sunday. The biggest destroyer of trees in the history of the world is mankind.
This is a picture of the Amazon rainforest. At the height of human impact, we were losing about 25,000 square kilometers of this one natural wonder every year, or about the size of Macedonia. Deforestation is a huge problem for many reasons. For starters, Trees help make the oxygen we breathe, while doing so they clean our air from hazardous CO2. They also help with decreasing erosion, the more trees we lose, the more mudslides and flooding different parts of the world have. It doesn’t just affect us, it affects all of the living things in the area as well. Scientists believe that we are losing over 100 species of animals and insects every year due to deforestation, and that is a terrifying prospect.
The question now becomes, how do we stop this madness? The simplest answer is to become more green aware, recycling papers or using electronics instead will help reduce deforestation. There are organizations who key goal is to decrease or eliminate deforestation while at the same time planting trees in order to help try and counterbalance the losses. Many people in America don’t care about deforestation because it doesn’t seem to be happening as much in our own backyard. It’s time we start to notice, because soon, these beautiful forests will be gone, and all we will have are stories of how beautiful they were.
I first became interested in conservation when I read a book as a child called “Just a Dream” by Chris Van Allsburg. This amazingly beautiful picture book tells the story of a young boy named Walter. Walter litters like any young boy, he doesn’t think of the impact that it causes. However, when he dreams about the dangers of pollution, he sees what the future of the world holds if we continue to ignore this environment crisis. His first act in trying to save the planet, is by planting a tree.
Let’s stop the madness, and start the change today.
-Matthew J Schiesl-