By Trevor Sipos
The Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world at 1.7 billion acres. It is home to roughly half of the world’s plants, insects and animals. Also, there are hundreds of different indigenous tribes that live in the Amazon rainforest. The rainforest is important for many different reasons Take a look at the facts listed below! By making more people aware of why we need the rainforest, we can help save it!
The Amazon is also referred to as the ‘Lungs of the Planet’ because it produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen
1 out of 4 ingredients in our medicine comes from rainforest plants. For example, Lapacho which comes from the inner bark of the Pau d’arco tree is used to treat cancer in the United States
People around the world rely on the Amazon for their daily diet because it provides fruit, nuts, corn, potatoes, rice, vegetable and spices
Since 1970, over 700,000 sq km. of the rainforest has been destroyed according to The Brazilian National Institute of Space Research. However, over recent years the rate at which the rainforest is being destroyed ha been on the decline due to international efforts. The destruction of the rainforest is largely attributed to the Brazilian government and individual people. In the 1970’s, the Brazilian government decided to make the rainforest more connected with civilization in order to make travel between important cities easier and to move commodities to urban markets. They accomplished this by creating 9000 miles of roads through the forest leading to much deforestation.
Today, industrial soybean producers, loggers and cattle ranchers are all trying to take as much land in the rainforest as they possibly can. Ranchers and soybean producers occasionally cooperate with each other leasing land to one another for cattle grazing and then soybean production. The cause for this deforestation is an increase in demand for leather, beef, soybean products and lumber. Corruption and lawlessness in Brazil is allowing the destruction of the Amazon to continue. In the time it takes you to finish reading this post, around 25 football fields of the rainforest will have been cut down.
Take a look at Green Peace’s solution to preventing deforestation globally! Greenpeace talks about why it is important to stop deforestation and how companies, governments and consumers can make important changes that will help the rainforest and other forests!
Save the Rainforest is another great resource for learning about the rainforest and methods to help preserve it!
How can you help? UniversalGiving offers a volunteer opportunity with Greenheart Travel that can help you protect the rainforest. The program lasts for 2-12 weeks. During this time, volunteers gather information on endangered species and assist in reforestation among other duties.