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Deforestation and Climate Change by City Tech Blogger Mary Grava

How has deforestation contributed to climate change in the United States? First I’d like to discuss how vital the forest is and how the forest contributes to the environment. Forest provide the environment with many benefits. It is home to many species of animals, plants, insects and humans. The forest also provides us with many resources like food, paper, lumber and medicines from the plants. What the forest contributes most importantly is the trees. The trees consume the carbon dioxide that we humans put into the air while breathing out oxygen. The trees are like the earths lungs. The less trees there are, the more carbon dioxide will be in the air. With the combination of burning fossil fuels and carbon dioxide building up in the atmosphere, it is causing the heat to be trapped in the lower atmosphere, driving up global warming. The climate is becoming unstable, resulting in more severe droughts, tropical storms and heat waves. Deforestation produces about 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions and is the 2nd leading cause of global warming. According to Earthday.org “Scientist say that deforestation in tropical rainforests adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the sum total of all the cars and trucks on the world’s roads. In some countries, such as Brazil and Indonesia, deforestation and forest degradation together are by far the main source of national greenhouse gas emissions”. Protecting the forest will help reduce the greenhouse gas submissions and slow down temperature rises.

There is no single factor in deforestation but a combination of influences that are destroying it. The conversion of forests into agricultural plantations is one cause of deforestation. Industrial scale producers are clearing forest due to the high demand in palm oil, soybeans and other goods. We could help by planting a tree in our backyard and spreading the word to other on how important it is to plant a tree. Another contributing factor for clearing forests is for ranching live stock. Brazil is a top exporter of beef and has cleared three-fourths the size of Texas for deforestation to ranch their live stock. We could by cutting down on our meat intake. Many people are becoming vegetarians for this reason. Not only to save these animal lives but to also help protect our environment. The higher the demand for meat the more these industrial scale producers are going to deforest so they can use the land to ranch. Going healthy will help save animals and our forest. Many other ways to help contribute to deforestation is stop buying products that contain palm oil. Demand supplies from deforestation free supply chains. Buy products from recycled materials. Also use reduce using products made from trees.


Lastly, supporting organizations that reforest and conserve. One organization is REDD (Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). REDD helps promote forest conservation and sustainable management, as well enhance forest carbon stocks in developing countries.  This will help other countries with the resources they need to take action on helping conserve forests. Educating yourself on these organizations will help you understand what is being done and what still needs to be done. This information will help you spread the word to your community, peers, family and social media. When people are aware of what is going on they are conscious, and more likely to help or contribute in any way. Many times we feel our small contribution is minuscule to the huge problem that continues to rise, however we need to realize that our small contribution can lead to inspiring someone else to contribute and this can set off a domino effect where it impacts a huge conversion on a larger scale.





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