18 June 2009

171 Days - Compassionate Climate Change Solution #5 END DEFORESTATION

I've been forgetting that I started this blog to bring COMPASSION to the dialogue about solutions.

Deforesting the planet has caused innumerable problems: devastation of biodiversity (due to habitat destruction and loss) — think orangutans and weep; erosion and landslides (oftentimes leading to silt-up of streams, which leads to more loss of biodiversity); increased flooding; and the driving of indigenous peoples from their ancestral homelands (which leads to a loss of ancient, Earth-based wisdom and knowledge).

But the really bad news is that deforestation is a major factor driving global climate change. "Scientists say one day's deforestation is equivalent to the carbon footprint of eight million people flying from London to New York."

We know that trees sequester carbon (in the short carbon cycle) — we just don't understand all the connections within natural systems. This March 2009 article (Amazon Rainforest Carbon Sink Threatened By Drought) in ScienceDaily explains a few of those vital connections we sever with the unintended consequences of our wasteful lifestyles.

To learn more about the connection between deforestation of tropical rainforests and global warming, see The Prince's Rainforests Project. As Prince Charles explains, "If we lose the battle against tropical deforestation, we lose the battle against climate change."

What can we do without in order to safeguard our forests? How about
  • clearcutting?
  • wads of toilet paper from old growth forests when you're going to wash your hands anyway?
  • newspapers, magazines and books you're not going to read?
  • tropical wood patio furniture? (what's wrong with local wood, selectively logged?)
  • hamburgers from rainforest beef cattle?
  • palm oil? (lots of tropical forests are being cleared for palm plantations; palm oil is in many if not most of our packaged foods — eat real food and cook from scratch)
And just to prove that I have a sense of humour, I'll include this rather enigmatic (versus cinematic) effort on the part of Harrison Ford, one of my favourite actors — with or without chest hair — to raise awareness of deforestation and who it's going to hurt.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?