How do you save the rainforests? That’s a tricky answer because there are many factors that must be considered. Most of us here grew up reading headlines about how quickly the rainforests were being desimated. We gave money to buy small patches of the forest. But did it do any good? What is really happening to the forests and is there anything we can do as normal citizens to help?
You can make a difference of course. The following sections describe some things you can do to help. If you have other suggestions please email us and we’ll consider including them.
Visit and Learn:
This may seem paradoxical to some, and to us too, but we feel that if you want to save the rainforests you need to visit them. More importantly you need to understand them. The better you understand the complexities the more you’ll grasp the issues effecting them and be able to make informed decisions about how you can help.
Just to show that we’re not all talk we wanted to share the personal experiences of one of our crew members, Hazen Audel. Hazen decided to visit the rainforests as soon as he graduated from high-school. As an 18year old he traveled to the edge of the forest in the Ecuadorian Amazon and befriended a group of Warani Indians. For the next 15 years he traveled back to Ecuador bringing small groups to show them the rainforests.
While we don’t expect you to go to that extreme, you should try to get off the beaten track and learn about local cultures and see how they utilize the rainforests in their area.
Know where your food comes from!
It should be known that a lot of the rainforest destruction is caused by a supply and demand for food products from developing nations. What that actually means is that whatever you buy is creating demand for those products, whether it be meat or grains.
The sad truth of the mater is that certain food crops that grow well in the tropics have been the cause for a great deal of rainforest destruction. In Brazil, the “frontier” as we call it, the leading edge of rainforest destruction is becoming soy-bean fields. In Malaysia, the culprit is palm oil, an ingredient found it a lot of food. Bananas and coffee are other products that you must watch.
And should we mention one of the least sustainable products – beef. The problem with beef is that while you can grow cattle on the cleared fields, each year one patch of land will hold fewer cattle. Add to the fact that they’re trompling the soil and the result is a patch of land that will most likely take a very long time to ever grow back into productive forests.
What should I eat then?
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t eat beef, bananas, coffee, or products with palm oil. Even if the entire world boycotted these things we understand there will likely be something that replaces them. We just want what replaces them to be sustainable and good for the environment.
For starters though, you could buy locally grown goods. The less pressure we put on the rainforest the better. That means not only changing some of the goods you buy but it could also mean trying to lower your impact on resources … ie. recycling.
National Parks and corridors:
Did you know that some countries have few if any National Parks? While many countries in the tropics have set aside large tracks of land others have not. Many people take Costa Rica as the epitome of a country that has capitalized on its natural landscape. But just to the north countries like El Salvador have few large tracks of forest existant. How can we protect migratory birds that travel to Costa Rica through countries where there are no places to rest? You can’t.
One of the more important things to remember is that while the creation of national parks, and protected corridors is often the decisions of the government we have the power to influence those decisions. Not only can you vote for your own politicians, but remember, when you visit that tells the country you’re in, “I like nature … please save it”.
There are many species in the rainforests that have survived deforestation and habitat loss as a result of human developement. There are many that still need our help? Why should we protect these wild places? In many ways, protecting biodiversity, means we protect our future:
Other Videos about Rainforest Conservation
Saving the Rainforest in many ways:
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