The majority of readers to the 'Seeds of Eaden' website are from 1st World, industrialized nations. We live in stable economies, with the added cushion of imported food and energy when we need it. Whatever is left of our ancient forests (which to be fair isn't that much) is protected by law and being preserved for our future.

We recycle a good part of our waste and try not to leave our flat screen televisions on standby, so why should we be concerned about the systematic destruction of the world’s tropical rainforests? Apart from standing on a soap box and blaming everyone else, we can't really do that much to help because we don't live in the appropriate countries and we have no voting rights – or can we?

The unfortunate truth is that what happens over there does affect us over here and the world's rainforests are being lost at an unthinkable rate.

However, at least we know the reasons behind it. Destructive logging activity,  both legal and illegal, and the unsustainable ‘slash and burn’ clearance of the rainforest lands for farming; these are the two main activities that are at the very heart of this serious problem.

Why Should We Care?

What is often not realised is that rainforests benefit everyone, and not just the local populations of where they are found. Rainforests store water, regulate rainfall, and are home to over half the planet's biodiversity, but more importantly they play a critical role in helping to limit the amount of fossil fuel emissions that build up in our atmosphere every year by absorbing CO2 as part of their normal photosynthetic process. The trouble is that when they are cut down and burned, not only are they then unable to absorb these emissions, they actually release yet more CO2 into the atmosphere. Currently, rainforest destruction accounts for 17% of global CO2 emissions which is more than the global transport sector releases.

It is these emissions of greenhouse gases that are causing global warming. In simple terms, if there were no rainforests to absorb CO2, the temperature of the earth would rise, and in turn so would global sea levels. That is the reality that the world is facing and why its effects should concern everybody.

Unfortunately the ‘Pandora’s Box’ of climate change has already been opened and we can already see its effects happening all around us. Of course, some of the signs are big while others are so small you probably haven't noticed - the break-up of the ice shelves, unexpected weather patterns, a greater risk of flooding, or may you have just noticed that some of your garden plants are flowering a little earlier this year. It already appears to be too late to reverse these effects, but if we work together we might be able to stop them getting worse or maybe even just slow it down. It is down to the individual to decide what is more important – an easy life or a sustainable life for our children.

Action needs to be taken now and that doesn't mean selling up and tying yourself to the first tree after stepping off the plane at Brazil airport. You can – at the very least - click onto the Prince’s Rainforests Project and sign up your name - it doesn't cost anything and it will make you feel better. Do nothing and you will only reap what you sow.

For related articles click onto the following links:
The Rainforest Alliance

No comments: