According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the 33 million acres of forestland that are lost annually around the globe are responsible for 20% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. The main causes of deforestation include wood and paper products, mining and oil exploitation, urbanization, acid rain and wildfires. Other reasons include supplying wood timber for wood and paper products and clearing land for crops, cattle and housing.
Trees are being destroyed at an alarming rate. More and more businessmen are pushing through forests to gain land for industrial or commercial purposes. The environment is being sacrificed for the sake of profit. Deforestation can have serious effects on air and water pollution, climate change, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity.
As an individual or part of the global community, you can at least plant a tree to combat deforestation. You can take one step further by the choices you make throughout the day when we’re shopping, eating, or even driving. One small step by you leads to twenty or more giant leaps towards a global campaign against deforestation.
25+ Phenomenal Ways That Can Help To Stop or Prevent Deforestation
1. Begin by hugging a tree. It’s that easy. This is the quickest way to appreciate the vital part it plays in your life.
2. Start planting trees. That’s the sum of the domestic campaign so far. Soon, all the neighbors will be carbon copying each other.
3. Stop printing and go paperless. Whether at home or work, many of us still have that nasty, lazy habit of not learning to utilize computer files and folders properly. So instead, we print. And, you know what, many of us do this when we think others are not looking. So, there you go. You know it’s wrong.
4. Recycle paper and cardboard. It is because one ton (2,000 pounds) of paper put to recycle prevents the cutting of 17 trees. These 17 trees then sequester around 250 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air every single year. If only 10 percent of the entire paper used by the average American were recycled in a year, 25 million trees would be saved, and 367 million pounds of carbon dioxide will be absorbed by these trees in one year.
6. When at home, recycle as much as possible. By extension, you are continuing with your proactive exercise in diverting the demand for clearing land.
7. You can help reduce illegal logging, ensuring that you buy only sustainable wood products that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC is currently the best global standard in forest management, providing a system for interested parties to work towards responsible forest management.
By purchasing FSC certified products, you are ensuring that you aren’t supporting unsustainable or illegal logging, and you are also supporting companies who strive to produce wood sustainably respecting the rights of the woodworkers and indigenous peoples.
8. In the kitchen, cut down on your meat intake and eat as many vegetarian meals as possible. It’s a best practice and a healthy one on top of it too. It’s problematic and time-consuming trying to source meat products that are entirely devoid of being harvested on land that once brimmed with trees.
9. Speaking of meat, do not buy meat products sourced from a land where forests have been cleared. At this stage, if you’re prepared to go the whole hog, and if you will, you’ll need to spend extra care and time perusing the product’s labels. Also, you’re going to need to extend your knowledge of the multinational companies that produce these pre-packaged supermarket items.
10. To get these things right, especially your shopping for recycled and sustainable products and your meat products, vigorously check the labels of each item you pick up. A much safer alternative and time-saving effort entail simply buying organic products instead. But avoid the multinationals that have pretentiously jumped onto the organic bandwagon, mainly to drive sales.
11. Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production.
About 85% of all palm oil globally produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia, but most of the time, not using sustainable measures. Unless there’s concrete proof that it’s been sustainably produced, do not buy palm oil at all.
12. Don’t also buy products containing palm oil, the majority of which comes from recently cleared land. Palm oil production is probably one of the main causes of tropical rainforest destruction around the world today. The palm oil is found in many of the products you buy from the supermarket, and as it can be disguised in many different forms in numerous beauty products and food, it is hard to avoid them entirely.
At least look for an alternative that carries a sustainable palm oil certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), where at least 95% of the palm oil is certified in sustainable practices throughout the supply chain.
13. Do not use firewood to heat up your fireplaces. It takes a few hours to burn the firewood but takes years to grow a single tree. Live in such a way that your activities cause minimum impact on the environment.
14. Practice eco-forestry. It is a restorative method of forest management that is not based on economic productivity. In this practice, certain trees are selectively harvested while causing minimal damage to the rest of the forest. The objective of this method in the long-term is to systematically fell mature trees while leaving the forest ecosystem relatively unaffected.
15. Encourage people to live in a way that doesn’t hurt the environment. Try to bring in more people in your community and let them know about how trees are being destroyed at an alarming rate and what steps we need to take to minimize our carbon footprint on the environment.
16. Start a Community forestry project carried out by local residents, volunteers, and schools with the support of the government. This technique of forestry involves tree planting, timber harvesting, cleaning, and forest conservation. Through the active involvement in the management of forests, local people become much more aware of all the benefits that forests provide for them on a daily basis.
17. Returning to the meat and grocery shopping list, do not buy anything from large multinationals that are actively or indirectly involved or responsible for the clearing of forest land. Shortly we’ll be emphasizing the importance of broadening your knowledge on which companies are guilty. You will be surprised to learn that within a matter of minutes, you’ll unmask them.
Globally, active campaigners and NGO’s have already published on the internet, which companies are still responsible for clearing forests. They’ll also enlighten you on the progress being made to reverse this.
18. Support companies that produce products by causing minimal harm to the environment. To improve your prospects of being able to make informed decisions about these companies and the many other items listed in this article, don’t forget to read and research extensively.
The deeper you dig, the more information you’ll unearth. At the same time, you’ll also be learning how to reach out effectively, seeing which you’ll soon know how everything is interrelated.
19. Respect the rights of indigenous people. Preserving, promoting and elevating indigenous communities to their rightful place of prominence would help reduce deforestation. It makes more sense to grant them access to land, which was inherently taken away from them, to begin with, that they will be able to fight for the protection of their forests legally. The indigenous people know how to make better use of it without damaging the forests.
20. Take good care of your technological devices. Technological devices are probably a source of deforestation too because the production of cell phones, tablets, laptops, or other tech devices means minerals such as lithium, copper or nickel were previously extracted and more need to be available. The extraction and the chemical separation processes to get these minerals are very polluting and likely to take down existing trees for new mining sites.
However, there’s something you can do, and that is to take good care of them until they break or stop working. When you will decide to get updated and buy a new one, make sure the old one will still be used while it’s working.
21. In the process, you also need to practice what you preach, both publicly and within the confines of your home, where no-one can see you. It’s hard, and it will take time. But, getting used to the idea is important, and you’re already off to a good start.
Imagine always feeling guilty whenever you go to the supermarket, knowing well that you’ve just bought something you had no business buying anyway. That’s the positive side of our human condition. It’s good to have a guilty conscience. Let the heart speak for itself.
22. Becoming the dearly beloved treehugger does not end with merely hugging a tree a day and planting a few trees every other year. You still need to become actively involved. Your research will lead you to the world’s most prominent eco-NGOs specifically focused on campaigning and working against deforestation. Also, it’s quite easy to become a member too.
23. Work with NGO’s to establish parks to protect rainforests and wildlife. Become directly involved in more ways than one by signing up as a member of Friends of the Earth.
24. Look for such organizations in your area that help restoring degraded forests. Restoration of degraded forests is a challenging task that takes decades and requires careful planning and monitoring. It supports the ecosystem’s capacity to recover perfectly and give us a new chance to start once again.
For example, South Korea’s reforestation program has managed to nearly double the country’s forest cover from 35 to 64 percent since the 1950s. In just 50 years, a part of a long lost tropical rainforest in Costa Rica was successfully revived.
25. On a much larger, political and/or corporate scale, it would be ideal to become a serving member or volunteer of any international and locally-focused organizations that strive for the protection of forests from deforestation and apply sustainable forestry practices.
Examples of some of them are:
Arbor Day Foundation and many more
26. Raising awareness has always been vital to resolve this kind of global issues. It was always going to be a challenge in giving new readers a refreshingly new look at how deforestation can and should be stopped in its tracks. But refreshingly, doing this makes it all easier for readers who are still not yet up to date on just how extensively their everyday lives have a dramatic effect on the world’s rainforests.
But by now, the message should be loud and clear. It’s time to get proactive. It’s time to get involved. Not tomorrow. Today. And that’s an encouraging way to wrap up this article, isn’t it? No-one needs to be overwhelmed. All they need to do is start with the small things in nature’s garden. Begin with your own, newly planted tree. Oh heck, you may as well chase Kitty down from the tree as well. After all, those squirrels and birds have vital roles to play in our ecosystems too.