Dear Amazon Rainforest,
We humans always talk about how much we love and respect your beauty and biodiversity, but when it comes to doing anything to protect you, we’re suddenly suspiciously silent. Our negligence is not only destructive to you, the rainforest, but to the entirety of the planet. Accordingly, we have a few things we need to apologize for:
1. Deforestation Means Less Carbon
Scientists have always thought that rainforest destruction is devastating, yet new studies confirm that human impact is far worse than previously estimated. Due to current deforestation rates, we lose 54 billion tons of carbon from the Amazon Rainforest each year alone, accounting for 40% of our annual carbon loss. Without this carbon, we’re going to have a heck of a time handling climate change. Sorry for chopping down so many trees.
2. You Were Only Trying to Save Us!
What with us constantly chopping down trees in the rainforest, you’d probably assume said trees are silently plotting their revenge against us. Instead, however, the trees are actually doing their darndest to protect us, as well as the rest of the planet. Research found that noble trees in the Amazon Rainforest are actually working overtime to absorb the carbon dioxide we release in an effort to limit global warming. Though the carbon dioxide eventually escapes once the tree dies and decomposes, you have to give the credit to the trees for doing their part in the meantime to at least delay the effects of warming. Sorry for not recognizing your selflessness.
3. We’re Killing Your Creatures We’re Not Even Familiar With
If we’re going to consciously destroy a part of the environment, we at least ought to know what it is that we’re killing in the process. In the past three years, though, scientists have discovered more than 400 new species. In that sense, we’re actually exterminating living things that we don’t even realize exist yet. Until recently, we didn’t know that things like a purring monkey, a “hairy” purple flower, lizards with “warpaint,” and a piranha that doesn’t eat meat were real things. On our current path, these creatures will disappear. Sorry to the species we have damned to extinction before even getting to know them.
4. We’re Drying You Out
How do you do ruin a wet area like the rainforest? By drying it out! Geoscientist researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that, with each passing decade, the Amazon’s dry season has lasted about a week longer. This is a dangerous trend: past a certain point, the rainforest will not be able to survive a dry season that lasts so long. Not only will the existing life forms dry out, but the prolonged dryness also significantly increases the risk of forest fires, which are likely to wipe out large areas. Unfortunately, this research backpedals on previous findings that rainforest would be better equipped to withstand the effects of climate change. Sorry for not allowing you to thrive in your usual wetness.
Of course, all of these apologies are meaningless with action. Will the human race be able to figure out how much our own survival is linked to that of the rainforest before it’s too late?