The rainforests or Amazonian jungles are known as lungs Of the earth. Its different layers of vegetation, which are home to thousands of plants and animals, produce enormous amounts of oxygen that allow the world to breathe and absorb carbon dioxide. However, these spaces are dying. And with them, us.
The Amazon Jungle It is the largest tropical rainforest in the world, with more than one million hectares and formed by several countries, such as Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela and Peru. This immense and fascinating space is home to more than ten million species. Yes, ten million! While in Europe there are about 600 species of butterflies, for example, in a single natural park in Peru you can find about 1300.
Some of these species are birds like the toucan or the hummingbird, reptiles like the boa constrictor, amphibians like the tree frog, insects like the tarantula, mammals like the Amazon dolphin, the anteater, chimpanzees, the sloth or the fruit bats and thousands of different species of flowers and medicinal plants.
It is clear that they are fascinating, full of life and colorsbut unfortunately, like our oceans, they are endangered spaces.
Why is the Amazon rainforest being destroyed?
In recent decades, much of the rainforests of Africa and Asia have been destroyed, and apparently this rhythm is only increasing. In reality, an area the size of New Jersey is estimated to be destroyed each year! But why does this happen?
The main reason (65%) responds to the need to “clean up” forest areas in order to build cattle farms. In the documentary Cowspiracy they give more specific information about it, but the story boils down to this the demand in the meat (and dairy) industry is so massive that equally massive spaces are needed to satisfy a manifestly unsustainable diet.
There are also other reasons why fires are created and trees are cut down, such as monoculture agriculturethe construction of roads (to facilitate access to ranches and transportation of timber), the timber industry drinkthe industry of paperthe resource exploitation, minerals Yes energythe construction of hydroelectric damsor industry touristic (not responsible).
With these actions, we realize that the habitats of millions of species are lostthat many animals are in danger and become homeless, that some species are injured by arson…
This state of the Amazon jungle it also implies danger to us as a species, because as deforestation progresses, climate change also increases, as more and more trees fail to absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. And, at the same time, the effects of climate change are becoming visible in droughts and worsening fires. And all this without going into the issue of human rights and social justice which directly harms the various indigenous cultures and societies.
Why is the Amazon rainforest important?
It is clear that the lungs of the Earth are in danger, that its negative effects are linked and that We must act now. I’ll tell you right now what you can do about it, but first I’ll leave you with a few reasons why the Amazon rainforest is key on our planet.
- Helps stabilize the effects of climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide. All the benefits of a tree, the rainforest has multiplied by a million!
- Helps maintain the water cycle and prevent droughts. It turns out that through a process called transpiration, plants release water from their leaves during photosynthesis, which ends up in the atmosphere. This moisture eventually becomes clouds, which causes precipitation and keeps the water cycle moving.
- Protects the soil from erosion. Thanks to the different layers of vegetation, the characteristics of the plants and animals themselves, among other factors.
- It is a great source of food and pharmaceutical resources. 70% of medicinal plants with anticancer properties come from tropical forests… and many plant species remain to be discovered!
- Its biodiversity is enormous. Not only is it home to millions of known species, but also the unknown! And it is that every year new species of insects, plants and animals are discovered. How fascinating is that?
- Create oxygen! Perhaps one of the most obvious and overlooked characteristics of plants. But it’s true; by harming trees and forests, we are actually harming our health and casting a shadow over our future.
What can I do?
The many organizations dedicated to the protection of these spaces indicate some solutions to follow through the acronym TREES (trees), which suggest educate others on the importance of tropical forests, repair the damage causedby planting trees, encourage your friends and acquaintances to contribute more sustainable lifestyle, establish natural parks and encourage businesses to minimize its impact ecological.
It’s a good start and planting trees and spreading the word are definitely essential steps. However, we cannot forget the main cause of the destruction: ranching.
The most efficient way you have as an individual to save the Amazon rainforest is stop eating meat. More and more studies, scientists, ecologists and even doctors affirm it: sustainability goes hand in hand with the food industry, and the consumption of meat is highly unsustainable.
The ultimate question is whether it is worth it. We know, if nothing else, that this decision will help prevent deforestation, slow global warming, reduce pollution, preserve oil reserves, ease the burden on rural America, reduce violations of human rights, to improve public health and to eliminate the most systematic diseases. Animal abuse in world history.
Jonathan Safran Foerbook eat animals.
other gestures What can you do, minor but equally importantare to buy furniture with responsible certificates, to consume less paper (and to recycle it whenever possible), to buy local and seasonal products, to avoid unregulated palm oil, to make donations or to organize responsible trips.
The bad news is that the disappearance of forests is progressing day by day. That’s good, there is a solution. But, like all good solutions, it involves trade-offs. What will you do your?