Prince Ea once said, "We might fight racism, feminism, poverty, gay rights or any type of equality but this won’t matter in the list because if we don’t work together to save the environment we will be equally extinct.” The world today is fighting so many forms of equality from gender, race to gay rights. The list is endless as most groups of the society are trying to be empowered, liberated and recognised. This has taken the attention of the world. In as much as people are fighting for themselves trees cannot do the same, they are being exploited at a very alarming rate than before. This article will highlight one of the most environmental hazards which is deforestation and also call for everyone to join the movement in saving the trees of this planet earth.
Deforestation is the removal of forests and cutting down of trees to make the land available for other uses like farms, ranches, building homesteads, roads, expanding cities and mining purposes. The trees are used for timber, fuel, shelter and other uses. The United Nations Frame work Convention on Climate change noted subsistence farming as contributing to 48% of deforestation, commercial farming causing 32%, logging is responsible for 14% of deforestation and fuel make up 5%. Population growth and urbanisation have also been causing deforestation. Over the years between 2000 and 2012 2,3 million square kilo-meters of forests around the world were cut for several uses.
The world might understand better why everyone has to be involved in saving trees if this article points some effects of deforestation. Deforestation stands out as the major contributor to global warming and climate change by contributing more than 20% of greenhouse emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change deforestation account to a third of total Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Emissions. It also causes more proportions of Carbon Dioxide to linger in the atmosphere, which traps radiation from the sun. The radiation quickly converts to heat causing global warming also known as greenhouse effect. Deforestation affects the water cycle which poses effects on the rain pattern thus causing poor harvests and hunger. It also reduces soil cohesion causing soil erosion, flooding and landslides. Deforestation also causes the extinction of many species that use forests as food and habitats. Deforestation can also affect the gross domestic product of nations that depend on timber industry negatively. Deforestation has many negative effects on the people, the economy and weather patterns.
The many effects of deforestation calls for a rapid, universal and sustainable response to save trees around the world. This means that everyone should be involved in the movement to save trees and forests. There should be precautionary measures to save trees that are still there and also solutions to problems that have already been caused. Precautionary measures include putting polices and laws that help protect the forests. This can also be strengthened by protecting forests from veld fires. Governments and organisations should formulate laws and policies that protect the forests. Governments can also create conditions that stop people from cutting down trees like electrification of rural homes to avoid cutting down trees for fire wood. There should also be solutions to problems that have already been done like promoting tree planting for example in December on the Tree planting day. These could be enhanced by the government’s financial support on all programs that facilitate plant trees. Compensations incentives can also help motivate organisations that plant trees and protect forests. Mining companies should also join the movement by planting trees in the areas they have cut down trees for mining purposes. Individuals around the society can help save trees by planting trees, protecting trees and even sharing some message of saving trees around the world on social media and in their society.
The United Nations has set the goals as the Sustainable Development Goals. SDG12 calls for responsible consumption and production that include responsibility of trees. SDG13 calls for Climate action that encompasses planting of trees in reshaping the environment. The goals have been set and the work is now about bridging the gap between the goals of protecting trees and practicing the various ways of saving trees. Let’s join hands in planting trees that remove carbon in the form of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during the process of photosynthesis. The world only has one planet earth, one environment lets work together and help our environment from deforestation by protecting forests and planting trees. My dream is to see the world plant trees at a rate that is higher than that of deforestation in order to correct the harm on the environment for this generation and generations to come.
By: Lispoh Rugaro