There have been so many discussions on the effects of deforestation in our environment. These effects range from alarming to catastrophic. We have read newspaper headlines that show the wreckage that natural disasters have done. Flashfloods have not only damaged millions of properties all over the globe but it has also collected lives. Landslides have done the same. These two are the results of nature’s balance that has been disturbed–they are the effects of deforestation.
Deforestation is the act of converting patches of forests to become areas of residence or industry. More and more businessmen are pushing through forests to obtain more land. Environment is sacrificed in exchange for profit. And this is a highly disturbing fact.
As an individual or as a part of the global community, you can do something to help prevent deforestation. Maybe you can’t fight off illegal loggers with your bear hands but with some basic ways, you can make a difference–no matter how small. Here’s a list:
1. If deforestation is a negative event, then a positive event should take place to counter its effects–reforestation. Plant trees and begin doing this in your yard. Trees give off oxygen that is essential for human existence and they, in turn, capture the carbon dioxide that humans and animals exhale. Trees also help in containing water in its roots. With this simple act, you are able to prevent soil erosion, which is the root cause of landslides!
2. Use recycled items such as books or pad paper, toilet paper, even shopping bags. If you can, do not waste any of these products so that no new raw material would be required to replace them.
3. If you are a farmer (or if you know someone who works as a farmer), try to rotate your crops. Instead of using a different portion of land each year, why not use the same portion with different crops? This practice also helps in maintaining the fertility of the soil. With the rotation of crops, not only is there a variety on the harvest each year, there is also the possibility of keeping that portion of land for as long as you can.
4. Cut down only the mature trees. Do not kill baby trees. And for every tree that is lost, plant another one as a replacement.
5. Join environmental awareness groups that would help you be an advocate of reforestation. In Washington, specifically in the Washington Middle School, there was a group of students that established a service-learning project. In their project, they asked a penny from each person. They explained that this money would help in buying acres of the rainforest in Amazon. Once this pushes through, no deforestation could take place in that purchased area.
6. There is a report that in Indonesia and Malaysia, more and more trees are cut down to produce palm oil. This massive destruction in the forests of both countries resulted into the loss of habitat for the native orangutans. With the loss of more trees, more animals become homeless. You can’t help prevent this altogether but you can limit your consumption of products that contain palm oil such as breads, chocolates, and even some cosmetics such as shampoo, soap or toothpaste. As to your food consumption, you can begin a diet of roasted or boiled foods instead of frying them.
7. Instead of using firewood, use coals to heat up your fireplaces during the winter season. Remember that it takes only a few hours to consume the firewood but it would take years to grow a single tree. Think twice before purchasing firewood again.
8. Support the laws or programs that were made to protect the forests and to stop any form of deforestation. Programs such as the Tropical Forestry Action Plan have done a major difference on the way deforestation is looked at today. This program spearheaded the discussion of tropical deforestation.
It is imperative to know that there is no such thing as a small, insignificant act when it comes to defeating deforestation. No matter how small your deed maybe, the important thing there is ‘every act can make a difference’. Deforestation can be prevented and you can be an active force in achieving that.