Listen up: already today we are using 25% more resources than our planet can provide sustainably (source: WWF).
How are we supposed to build a future around that?
We have to be willing to take action, collectively and immediately.
We must reduce our ecological footprint, and keep it to an absolute minimum.
Deforestation is currently responsible for 20% of all emissions, contributing twice as much to global warming as was thought. Our goal should be to prevent greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation by raising awareness and taking whatever action we can.
Forests are rich ecosystems and significant pools of biodiversity – important breeding grounds for millions of species of flora and fauna.
Their role in maintaining climate functions regionally and globally, and the regulation of regional climate patterns through hydrological cycles is of immense importance.
The trees which absorb carbon dioxide are a great tool to combat global warming: stopping deforestation could cut global carbon emissions by as much as three billion tonnes a year – the equivalent of more than 1/3 of all fossil fuel emissions.
The Amazon is the single largest remaining tropical rainforest in the world, housing at least 10% of the world’s known biodiversity, including endemic and endangered flora and fauna. The world depends on this rainforest basin for carbon storage: it has the capacity to sponge 90-140 billion metric tons of carbon (source: BBC).
Main deforestation threats are as follows: burning forests to create grasslands for cattle, mechanized agriculture expansion resulting in soil erosion, river siltation and aquatic contamination with agrochemicals, poorly planned transportation and energy infrastructure, oil and gas spills from hydrocarbon exploitation, and illegal logging.
Unfortunately, immediately after announcing that deforestation is down since conservation efforts began in 1988, the authorities in Brazil voted yesterday to approve a controversial legislation which will alleviate strict fines for some illegal forest clearance and ease overall rules on deforestation.
The reason is a necessity for arable land to feed the growing population and to meet the growing demand for food, stimulating economic development. Farmers are arguing that environmental protection harms their sector and the entire food production system.
Leading environmental agencies are warning that the changes will spoil Brazil’s significant environmental achievements of recent years and dangerously impair global efforts to fight climate change, reduce carbon emissions, and speed up the loss of biodiversity.
The changes are also expected to expose native tribes and poorer regional settlements to larger risks from floods and droughts.