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In Case You Forgot, Forests Are Awesome…

In Case You Forgot, Forests Are Awesome…

President Obama made history when he endorsed a†new EPA rule that would (finally) crack down on some of the worst polluters in America: dirty power plants. While the proposed rules are far from perfect, they’re a step in the right direction. They’re also going to be fiercely disputed by those who will have to adapt or become obsolete (I’m looking at you King Coal).

As the environmental community braces for a fight, I can’t help think about other, easier options that we’ve ignored for decades. Options like protecting the natural resources that clean our air automatically and act as sanctuaries for the plant and animal life that’s fading fast.

I’m talking about forests.

Forests are the largest terrestrial carbon sink known to man, and America has nearly 751 million acres of forest land. Sadly, instead of protecting this massive asset in the fight against climate changing air pollution, we’ve exploited it.

According to the United Nationís†Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the 33 million acres of forestland that are lost annually around the globe are responsible for 20 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.†Deforestation is one of the planetís most dire environmental issues, and yet few people realize that by eliminating our forests, we’re actually fast-tracking our own extinction.

“Direct causes of deforestation are agricultural expansion, wood extraction (e.g., logging or wood harvest for domestic fuel or charcoal), and infrastructure expansion such as road building and urbanization,” explains NASA’s Earth Observatory. “Rarely is there a single direct cause for deforestation. Most often, multiple processes work simultaneously or sequentially to cause deforestation.”

Each of us is responsible, either directly or indirectly, for the systematic elimination of the planet’s precious forest systems. The products we buy, brands we support, political candidates we vote for, and even the drugs we consume all help decide the fate of these vital ecosystems.

Read “5 Ways to Show Trees the Love” for some simple changes that can help our forests and scroll through the infographic below to learn more about why they’re so important.

Infographic via American Forest Foundation

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Conservation, Green, Home, , , , , , , , ,

Image via Thinkstock

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Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog or check out her blog.

67 comments

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9:47PM PDT on Jun 24, 2014

Forest, be it rainforest, African savannah, or Australian bush, are the only habitats left for most land animals. Plus the fact they reduce carbon emissions.....it's a no brainer. We must do all we can now to protect what's left....and it ain't much, unfortunately! But I'm speaking to the converted here on C2. Just let us spread the word out there to the apathetic rest of society.

5:05PM PDT on Jun 24, 2014

Thanks for sharing

1:47PM PDT on Jun 23, 2014

Our house is nestled in the forest and we love it!!

4:03PM PDT on Jun 22, 2014

Thank you :)

12:03PM PDT on Jun 20, 2014

Oh yes, they are :)

1:59PM PDT on Jun 19, 2014

Animals could'nt exist without forests and rainforests. Donate directly to non-profits to help if you can. Saving their homes is literally saving them!

5:25AM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

Thank you for this informative article

4:46PM PDT on Jun 15, 2014

Yes, they are!

9:40PM PDT on Jun 14, 2014

Forests ARE magical. And we most do everything we can to protect them from lum ber Companies.
I know we need tree to build and the lumber"ppl" need their jobs, but it should be possible to keep tree production while we keep the old and live giving rainforrests and other kind og forests from North to South so all our wildlife keep their hapitats and don´t exstingt because the trees are being cutted Down.

Sorry for my horrible English. :-)

10:22AM PDT on Jun 14, 2014

Important reminder

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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