Forests cover 31% of our planet and deforestation is one of the biggest threats to our climate worldwide.
Deforestation occurs when forests are converted to non-forest uses, such as agriculture and road construction. According to satellite data, tropical forests are being destroyed at a rate of about 8 million hectares (31,000 square miles) a year — an area equivalent in size to the state of South Carolina or the Czech Republic.
Over half of the tropical forests worldwide have been destroyed since the 1960s, and every second, more than one hectare of tropical forests is destroyed or drastically degraded. This intense and devastating pressure on forests is not limited to the tropics – an estimated 3.7 million hectares of Europe’s forests are damaged by livestock, insects, diseases, forest fires, and other human-linked activities.
Over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity can be found in forests - from pine trees in the boreal North to the rainforests in the tropics. The degradation and loss of forests threaten the survival of many species and reduce the ability of forests to provide essential services such as clean air and water, healthy soils for agriculture, and climate regulation.
Healthy forests support the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people globally, one billion of whom are among the World’s poorest.
The world’s forests absorb 2.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, one-third of the annual CO2 released from burning fossil fuels. Protecting and restoring this vast carbon sink is essential for mitigating climate change.
Forests also play a crucial role in climate change adaptation efforts. They act as a food safety net during climate shocks, reduce risks from disasters like coastal flooding, and help regulate water flows and microclimates. Improving the health of these forest ecosystems and introducing sustainable management practices increase the resilience of human and natural systems to the impacts of climate change.
Similarly, the Amazon Rainforest is a key component of Earth’s climate system. It is considered as the lungs of the planet and IT IS BURNING at a record rate, the highest on record since 2013 and an 83% increase from last year. Earlier this month, Brazil declared a state of emergency over the rising number of fires in the region. So far this year, almost 73,000 fires in the country have been detected by Brazil's space research center, INPE.
“In the Amazon, nothing is adapted to fire.” 10 percent of Earth’s animal species live there. For the thousands of mammal, reptile, amphibian, and bird species that live in the Amazon, the wildfires’ impact will come in two phases: one immediate, one long-term.
In the midst of wildfire, animals have very few choices. They can try to hide by burrowing or going into the water. They can be displaced. Or they can perish. In this situation, a lot of animals will die, from flames, heat from the flames, or smoke inhalation.
Fire is often used to clear out the land for farming or ranching. For that reason, the vast majority of the fires can be attributed to humans, Christian Poirier, program director of the nonprofit Amazon Watch, told CNN.
Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has said publicly that he thinks the fires were set by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in retaliation to funding cuts. Bolsonaro didn't provide any evidence for his claims and then later said he never accused any groups.
(Photo Credit: Isac Nóbrega/PR https://www.flickr.com/photos/palaciodoplanalto/46775169985/in/album-72157691084499843/)
But if such rapid deforestation continues, it will foil efforts to keep global temperatures in check. Scientists fear parts of the Amazon could pass a critical threshold and transform from a lush rainforest into a dry, woody grassland. And that could bring catastrophic consequences not only for people in South America but also for everyone around the world.
Our world is at stake, and even though this is a political game about money, there's still room for us to act. NGOs including Amazon Watch, Conservation International, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Rainforest Alliance, WWF, and Greenpeace International all help mitigate these fires and promote reforestation in Amazon Rainforest and other forests globally.
Like our NGO, OneTreePlanted, we are focusing on Global Reforestation. Our garments are certified & are made in a strict supply chain providing transparency so that workers are treated well. They are also made in a climate-neutral way reducing up to 90% carbon dioxide and are made out of 100% organic cotton, and upon each order, one tree is planted.
We will very soon release a collection to raise awareness and to give back to the Amazon Rainforest partnering with various NGO's.
We are trying to play our part in conserving our Earth and biodiversity, but we need YOU, as well as other groups and NGOs too, as together we can make a difference and save our planet from deforestation and biodiversity loss.