I read, write and edit on a strange variety of subjects for my job as a copywriter for an affiliate marketing company. Inversion tables, bluetooth headphones, CPA Exam prep courses, Six Sigma Professional Certification, you get the point. Today, I had to edit a piece on the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest. Yesterday I watched Before the Flood, which changed my life—more on that in a later post. I love coincidences like that because they almost make me believe in fate. Anyway, I wanted to share what our writer sent over because the numbers paint a very ugly picture of what greed and disregard for the future look like. It’s long, but I hope you make it to the end.
The following was written by Emily Sears:
Deforestation of the Amazon
The Amazon Rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest in the world, spanning over eight rapidly developing countries including Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. With 1.4 billion acres of dense forests, the Amazon Rainforest represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests. As the largest tract of tropical rainforest, the Amazon has unparalleled biodiversity. One in ten known species in the world lives in the Amazon. The landscape contains 4,100 miles of rivers winding through 390 billion individual trees and 40,000 different plant species. The forests are home to 2.5 million insect species, 2,200 fish species, and some 2,000 birds and mammal species. This makes the Amazon the largest collection of living plants and animal species in the world.
Each and every year, swaths of forests the size of Panama are lost. Deforestation is clearing Earth’s forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. During the past 40 years, close to 20 percent of the Amazon Rainforest has been cut down—more than in all the previous 450 years since European colonization began. Deforestation is considerable, and cleared forest areas are visible to the naked eye from space.
The percentage of cut down forest could be far higher than the predicted 20 percent; the figure fails to account for illegal logging. The issue of illegal logging and deforestation in the Amazon is still a huge concern, despite progress on deforestation rates in the last decade. Although deforestation has declined significantly in the Brazilian Amazon between 2004 and 2014, there has been an increase to the present day. Scientists fear that over the next two decades, an additional 20 percent of the trees in the Amazon will be lost. If that happens, the forest’s ecology will unravel and the whole world will be impacted.
Global Effects of Deforestation
Deforestation has many negative effects on the environment, the economy, and the world. Deforestation may not be happening in your local environment, but it is absolutely impacting your world. There is a clear connection between the health of the Amazon and the health of the planet. The rain forests help stabilize the local and global climate since they contain 90-140 billion metric tons of carbon, which help stabilize local and global climate. Deforestation releases significant amounts of this carbon, which has catastrophic consequences around the world. And at this current rate of deforestation, the world’s rainforests could completely vanish in a hundred years.
The most dramatic impact of deforestation is a loss of habitat for millions of species. Seventy percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes. Deforestation also drives climate change. Forest soils are moist, but without protection from sun-blocking tree cover they quickly dry out. Trees also help perpetuate the water cycle by returning water vapor back into the atmosphere. Without trees to fill these roles, many former forest lands can quickly become barren deserts.
The danger signs are undeniable and the need to change has never been more apparent. The quickest solution to deforestation would be to simply stop cutting down trees, but financial realities make this unlikely to happen. But there are some things that you can do to help, like going paperless.
Going Green – How Switching to Digital Products Can Save the Earth
Many companies choose to go digital for many reasons. Paperless companies are ultimately more efficient and more accessible. Getting and using information within seconds, not days, is the norm in today’s global and mobile world. With electronic documents and workflow automation tools, you can create and route documents and data that can reach the right people, right away, without manual intervention. There are many advantages when the use of paper is eliminated or almost absent in a company. The biggest and most obvious reason is to be greener by helping reduce deforestation and the need for illegal logging.
In recent years, organizations ranging from test prep companies to health insurance firms have turned to paperless practices in order to help save the earth. Public opinion polls show that concern about the environment rises and falls based on the state of the economy and other factors, but concern about the negative impacts associated with using paper and printing continues to rise. This includes paperless texts, paperless billing, paperless receipts, and so on.
Illegal logging exists because of increasing demand for timber, paper, and derivative products, including packaging. So the best way to stop this is to switch to paperless. For example, if every U.S. household switched from paper billing to online, the environmental benefits would be significant. Each year, this switch would save 16.5 million trees. Also, making paper uses a lot of water and a lot of chemicals. The process releases nasty compounds into the air and rivers, including cancer-causing dioxins. So by reducing our need for paper, we can make the environment a little bit cleaner and save some trees in the Amazon.