Stop The Deforestation

"This land is where we know where to find all that it provides for us--food
from hunting and fishing, and farms, building and tool materials,
medicines. This land keeps us together within its mountains; we come to
understand that we are not just a few people or separate villages, but one
people belonging to a homeland" (Colins 32). The "homeland" is the Upper
Mazaruni District of Guyana, a region in the Amazon rain forest where the
Akawaio Indians make their home (32). The vast rain forest, often
regarded as just a mass of trees and exotic species, is to many indigenous
people a home. This home is being destroyed as miners, loggers, and
developers move in on the cultures of these people to strip away their
resources and complicate the peaceful, simple lives of these primitive
tribes. However, the tribes are not the only ones who lose in this
situtation. If rain forest invasion continues, mankind as a whole will lose a
valuable treasure: the knowledge of these people in utilizing the resources
and plants of the forest for food, building, and medicine. To prevent this
loss, the governments of the countries housing the rain forests should
provide some protection for the forest and its inhabitants through
legislation, programs. Also, environmentalists should pursue educating
the tribes in managing thier resources for pragmatic, long-term profit
through conservation.
Although hard to believe, the environmental problems of today
started a long time before electricty was invented, before automobilies
littered the highways, and before industries dotted the countryside. From
ancient times to the Industrial Revolution, humans began to change the
face of the earth. As populations increased and technology improved and
expanded, more significant and widespread problems arose. "Today,
unprecedented demands on the environment from a rapidly expanding
human population and from advancing technology are causing a continuing
and acelerating decline in the quality of the environment and its ability to
sustain life" (Ehrlich 98). Increasing numbers of humans are intruding on
remaining wild land-even in those areas once considered relatively safe
from exploitation. Tropical forests, especially in southest Asia and the
Amazon River Basin, are being destroyed at an alarming rate for timber,
conversion to crop and grazing lands, pine plantations, and settlements.
According to researcher Howard Facklam, "It was estimated at one point in
the 1980s that such forest lands were being cleared at the rate of 20
(nearly 50 acres) a minute; another estimate put the rate at more than
200,000 sq km (more than 78,000 sq mi) a year. In 1993, satellite data
provided the rate of deforestation could result in the extinction of as many
as 750,000 speices, which would mean the loss of a muliplicity of
products: food, fibers, medical drungs, dyes, gums, and resins" (53). So
what kind of condition will the forests be in in the year 2050? If this rate of
deforestation continues, there will be no tropical rain forest in the year
2050. Therefore, preservation need to occur now in order stop the terrible
loss of the rain forests and all that it can provide.
Rain forest destruction has two deadly causes: loggers and miners.
For example, imagine loggers on bulldozers rolling into the forest, tearing
down not only trees, but the invisible barrier between the modern,
materialistic world and the serene paradise under the forest canopy.
Forest locals told Scholastic Update that "...so much forest has vanished
that the weather has changed delaying rains and increasing heat...." (Leo
19). Along with the loggers come miners seeking the gold and other
minerals found in the forest. The article "My Trip to the Rain Forest" points
out that the rivers of the rain forests become poisoned by the mercury
leaked in gold-mining. This exposes the tribes to diseases which they have
no immunity to, such as malaria, tuberculsis, and the flu. The miners also
bring in violence, which has killed over 1,500 members of one tribe in the
Amazon. Many of the tribes leave their ancestoral homes to flee the noise
and disruption of the miners (Smith 66). Certainly, these loggers and
miners must not think of the areas they invade and destroy as a home.
Conseuently, invading the rain forest is no different than bullsdozers
leveling out a suburb in the United States. The lifestyles in rain forest
villages and American towns are vastly different, but the two share one very
important similarity: in these settlements live human beings with minds,
families, and feelings.
In fact, there is a way to limit deforestation of the rain forest:
through forest conservation. The conservation of forest trees involves
three fundamental principles. The first is protection of