Deforestation – the end of human life on the planet?

 

<img src="deforestation.jpg" alt="Deforestation" width="300" height="200">

Time to get real about sustainable life on earth

The World Forestry Congress in Durban has finally reached a place where experts are no longer beating about the bush: We are all going to die if we do not pay attention to what we (the human species) are doing to our planet. The truth can no longer sustain the awkward dance to the tunes played by greed and politics. The message is short and not-very-sweet: Preserve forests or the end is in sight.

Environmental activists, long relegated to the ranks of the criminally insane, have been right all along. But there is no satisfaction in the vindication. How sad it is when something so devastating is true. The world has lost forests the size of our country in very recent times. Communities from South America to Africa, from Nepal to Canada via Norway, depend on the forests for their livelihood. Some of these communities are desperately poor, in spite of the fact that their trees provide products to the design snobs of the wealthiest groups in the world. Those that shout green values the loudest are often the same people that insist on natural wood products from ancient trees.

Goran Person, president of Think Forest, suggests that a bold push for bio economy is the answer. Of course, but is it not too late already? Although the rate at which the world is cutting down its forests has slowed down in the past twenty years, the consequences of what went before cannot be reversed, and the process continues albeit slightly slower. United Nations Development representative, Martinez-Soliman, points out that some parts of the world are heading for disaster still. The world population continues to grow, in spite of the loss of life due to war and famine, flood and fire, earthquake and the biggest population migration (in the form of refugees) in the history of the world. That means more food will be required. Everybody knows commercial farming, and cutting down forests to create the space for it, is a short term solution.

BUT

  • More creative ways of producing food remain cumbersome and do not make the rich richer, so will they bother?
  • Most Africans to this day rely on biomass for fuel.
  • The global damage is irreversible. Forests give protection against climate change (trees absorb carbon dioxide). Deforestation worsens soil erosion, landslides and flood damage.
  • 2-billion people rely on forests for their livelihood of which an estimated 60-million indigenous people are entirely dependent on them.
  • The biggest losses of forested areas are in the tropical zones of Africa and South America.

The political will and the power of a vibrant social conscience lag behind science in this field. There are solutions, but humankind is too busy with more pressing challenges to address the biggest problem of them all. Join social initiatives and watch your own addiction to comforts that do harm. If we do not wake up our children’s children will have to flee to another planet. You’d better believe it!

Ref: BDlive