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Article : A Crisis In Our Forests

Articles, Poems & Information > A Crisis In Our Forests


Author: Mark Naughton (2001)


Little by little, the forests succumb to the chainsaw and the axe, wielded by loggers whose only fear is that the beautiful tree they are killing, will fall on them. How can humankind direct its attention to something so beautiful yet savage and plunder it for all the resources they can find?

I remember being told not to have plants in my bedroom because they reduce the oxygen while you sleep. Why was I told? I have no idea but the thought of oxygen-hungry triffids sucking the air right under my nose while I suffocated in my sleep was not a pleasant memory. I can quite imagine many people were told the same story and in time, they viewed the trees as something Nature provided for us to use for housing, furniture, warmth etc.

As I entertained the years, I found out more information and this early misconception actually forced me to understand and that is why I am here now.

To quote: Plants grow by the method of photosynthesis where Carbon Dioxide is drawn from the air and with sunlight and water, sugars are produced for the plant's growth. In this process, Oxygen is released into the atmosphere - where's that bedroom misconception now? And imagine how much Carbon Dioxide is absorbed and how much Oxygen is released into the air by the Rainforests?

As the sugars (or formaldehyde) are the basis of all molecules, it is the basis for chemical reactions that make fats, protein, DNA etc. Any living thing that is incapable of photosynthesis is dependent on those that are capable. In a nutshell, without photosynthesis we would not survive!

Although plants cannot exist by photosynthesis on their own, the energy from the sunlight is released (in the form of Carbon Dioxide) when organic compounds react with the Oxygen from the air. Now, although this may contradict my earlier statement, it is not so. Nature strikes a balance in that if there were more Carbon Dioxide in the air, they would absorb more, releasing more Oxygen. When it comes down to it, plants, animals and humans all exist by the process of respiration. We breathe in, taking Oxygen and breathe out with Carbon Dioxide. Plants breathe in the opposite way.

Now you may wonder where all this is going. The above was to illustrate what plants and trees do for us - they keep us alive and without them, we will not be able to survive for very long on the barren Earth.

Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, pollutants and emissions have reached incredible levels. Yet we still pump more into the atmosphere - yet what is the cause of our children's asthma?

In areas around the World, mountain slopes are stripped of trees for profit, housing and industry. As the weather changed, the rains poured on the same slopes and with no stability, mud slides wreaked havoc causing loss of life.

I've heard people say that global warming, although a natural cycle and is currently being accelerated by humankind, will be good for us as we will be able to grow grapes etc in the UK!! And we may strive for warm weather - it makes us feel good! - and but what if we couldn't stop it? Maybe not in 10 years but in 20 years, we had to wear sun cream with a SPF of 2000! Imagine the droughts and famine that we have all seen in Africa and imagine what Europe, Asia and the Americas will be like...

What happens when our World is barren with billions of people starving and fighting amongst themselves and slowly, humankind disappears - is that a good enough testament to our forefathers who worked and fought so hard to give us the life we have today? We've sacrificed our home and people for profit and if we diverted the energy we put into our greed, then our home would be a better place to live.

I do not wish to count the many who have suffered due to the forests being destroyed, whether it's the Native Indians in the Amazon to the people of Ethiopia or to the people of Bangladesh. When a tree falls, it doesn't leave just an empty space behind...

The life of the human race is a blink in the eye in the life of the Universe and if we choose to ignore our future then that's all it will be - it may sound harsh but who has actually listened so far? If you're still not convinced then at least consider the circumstances we find ourselves in with floods, drought, freak snow storms and tornadoes in the UK - When will it stop?

If we care about the freshness of our first breath in the morning or the beauty of the early sun and birdsong, then we'll be motivated to help save the beauty of our natural world. When my children ask me what I did, I'll tell them I stood up for what I believed, that I would not give up.

Its time to act now, to save our future!








Document last updated on Tuesday 30 August 2011

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