Plus four ways of tackling deforestation problems without going to the Amazonian rainforest!
Have you ever heard about deforestation, but don’t really get what it’s all about? Don’t worry, we’ll got you covered: in this blog we’ll tell you deforestation 101 and explain how your everyday life affects it.
Turn around wherever you are. You’ll probably see a piece of paper, a wooden table, a book in someone’s hands. All of this has been made with the help of the trees. Forests still cover about 30% of the world’s land area, but each year we lose swaths, half the size of England, due to deforestation. This happens on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. There are many drivers for deforestation, but agriculture is one of the most important ones. Farmers cut down these trees in order to clear space for crops and for livestock animals. Trees are cut down as well to be used as fuel, or to be used and often sold for their wood, again, this happens on a massive scale.
It’s not rocket science that cutting such a big quantity of trees without planting new ones is bad for the environment. What makes things worse is that clearing of the land results in more environmental problems like: A) A loss of habitat for millions of species as 80% of land animals and plants live in forests. B) Climate change, because there are no more trees to protect forest soils from drying out, so some former forest lands can even become barren deserts. C) Without trees more greenhouse gases will enter the atmosphere, increasing the severity of global warming.
Perhaps the region that suffers the most from deforestation is the Amazon as around 17% of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to cleaned land conversion for cattle ranching. But it is not only happening somewhere in the tropical countries: recent research shows that even the Netherlands has been losing 13.5 square kilometres of woodland every year since 2013, even thought farmers were getting subsidised to grow trees. So this is an environmental problem that impacts everyone. And whether we like it or not, we can indirectly support deforestation while we are not even aware of this.
But what can we do to fix it? Here are some ways of tackling deforestation problems without going to the Amazonian rainforest:
1) eat less meat. As mentioned previously, a lot of farmers cut down trees because they want a place for livestock, so if you don’t eat meat once a week (or go veggie more often;), you already lessen the demand on meat
2) Try to cut back on using paper products, or use them responsibly! Luckily, we live in the XXI century, so we are lucky enough to go digital with almost anything! Especiallt note-taking!
3) Read electronic books, or buy second hand. Hint: if you are in Amsterdam, go check out some parks with “birdhouses” full of free books to share in general, with anyone! Or go to the Amsterdam Research Institute for Legal Studies, a corridor where you can buy awesome second hand books for 2-3 euros. Also don’t forget about the book market on the Spui every Friday.
4) Buy things with the FSC label on it, as this certification reduces the risk of poor forest management
Good luck saving the world!
This blog post has been written by guest blogger Karina