It’s not really a big surprise that there is a correlation between climate change and deforestation. Forests are a huge mitigating factor for climate change since trees take in much of the carbon dioxide that would otherwise be left in our atmosphere. Not only does deforestation reduce this mitigating factor, but it also increases carbon emissions as well since the carbon that’s stored is being released back. Just from this alone anyone can see how forests are one of if not the biggest natural combatants of climate change that the Earth provides for us. Yet despite all of this, deforestation isn’t stopping or slowing down, but increasing instead. The Amazon rainforest is no exception, since its deforestation rates have increased drastically over the years. In fact, in January 2020 alone, deforestation amounted to a size 83 times the size of New York’s Central Park, more than twice the amount it had in January 2019. In addition to that, deforestation in the Amazon is increasing despite the coronavirus quarantines. At this time, everyone is quite tired of hearing how far reaching the coronavirus is in most aspects of our life and future, but a pandemic like the coronavirus could very much happen again because of deforestation. With animals losing their homes due to deforestation and with increased carbon emissions leading to higher temperatures, animals will seek out new homes and increase their contact with humans. This can easily lead to another global pandemic.
There are many actions we could do to help stop deforestation within our own countries, though it’s not as easy for forests in other countries that are under the control of their own governments. However, petitioning for the UN to enforce stricter sanctions against illegal loggers is one thing everyone can do. In fact, every issue of climate change should be under the scrutiny and authority of the UN, seeing as how climate change impacts and affects the entire world. Even though Brazil did sign the 2015 Paris Agreement stating that all parties involved should take action to preserve forests due to their role as carbon sinks, Brazil hasn’t done much to prevent deforestation. Instead, under the administration of their current president, they are pushing for urban development in the Amazon instead.
This kind of situation, when a government isn’t complying with something that the UN agreed upon with them, is precisely why the UN should enforce actions against climate change personally, rather than take it on good faith that every country does their part. Of course, other than pushing for the UN to act, we can help fight deforestation by reaching out to our own governments and taking steps to help prevent forest fires, accidental or not, which greatly impact climate change. Rather than just directly stopping deforestation, we should help to restore the already destroyed parts of forests as well. Perhaps we should even try to help expand the forests, seeing as how we need all that the mitigation forests can provide.
It’s easy to remain complicit or refuse speak up on the matters of climate change and deforestation, especially since most of us aren’t directly in contact or sight of any forests. We know how bad deforestation is but let it be because we just don’t see it. This mentality should be changed; otherwise the already noticeable effects of climate change that we personally observe will become increasingly noticeable, and it will become even harder to take preventive measures that actually halt the warming of our planet rather than just slow it down. Not to mention that with the years it takes to gestate plants and wildlife within forests, deforestation is not easily undone.