Rainforests, particularly the Amazon, are incredibly important to the survival of the Earth and its inhabitants. The Amazon rainforest is sometimes referred to as ‘the lungs of the earth’ because 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon. It also extracts a huge amount of carbon dioxide in the process.
Unless you have been living in a cave for the last 30 years, you’re probably well aware that deforestation is a serious global problem. Some rather horrifying facts include:
- Half of the world’s tropical forests have already been cleared.
- Agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation. 13 million hectares per year in South America and Africa and south East Asia is converted from a forest to an agriculture land. One and a half acres of forest is cut down every second. This rate of deforestation equals to loss of 20 football fields every minute.
- If the current rate of deforestation continues, it will take less than 100 years to destroy all the rainforests on the earth.
- Loss of forests contributes between 12 percent and 17 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Up to 28,000 species are expected to become extinct by the next quarter of the century due to deforestation.
- Poverty, over-population and unequal land access are the main causes of man- made deforestation.
What is the solution to this potentially cataclysmic problem?
Thankfully Peru has not yet seen the same amount of rainforest devastation as Brazil and many other countries. However, it is still a serious problem here.
Unfortunately, many of the people here that are causing the deforestation are people who actually live in the forest. This is generally because of poor education and lack of understanding about their environment and the importance of rainforest eco-systems. Sadly, most of the people who live in jungle towns and communities have lost all connection with the original indigenous wisdom of living in connection and harmony with their environment.
What if these people could be better educated so that instead of destroying their home they learn to conserve and live in greater harmony with it?