Lungs of our Planet | Teen Ink

Lungs of our Planet

May 19, 2008
By Anonymous

If you ever want to go on some sort of vacation to see the wilderness, you’d better go now because the Earth is rapidly dying away. You could easily be any of these animals or trees being killed or torn down in the rainforest, but since you’re not in that position are you just going to sit there and hear about it happening? It’s not you, so why should you care? You don’t live near it, so why should you care? Here’s why: rainforests once covered 14% of the earth's land surface; now they cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years, which if you’re at least 60 years old or younger, it’s in your lifetime. You should be worried because it will affect your community greatly in the years to come.
So why is this happening? It’s simple; people want more of a metropolis on this good Earth. They don’t realize how close and thread in they are with nature. Nature and humans are one but a lot of humans are selfish and stubborn to ever face a fact like that. Rainforests, which are naturally large in size, when cut down release tons of carbon dioxide, thus adding to global warming tremendously. Now think about this, one and one half acres of rainforest are lost every second so how much carbon dioxide do you guess has heated up our Earth in the past seconds it took you to read this sentence? What about these past couple paragraphs? Now let that soak in for a minute.

I’m guessing as humans we want the world to go on for many more years to come, so why not take care of the Earth instead of destroying it? Why wipe out however many harmless, innocent species? Maybe it’s because in some ways animals have more compassion than some humans. They live and have their own niche and their lives have nothing to do with your daily life in your home, so why must we make them the victims? If the world were to end at any given moment, it is because of the faults of the human race. Not to mention actual humans living in rainforests. There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian Rainforest five centuries ago, today there are less than 200,000. Does this make you feel anything for them at all? This whole reason for destroying rainforests is for more of a metropolis, but what about the consequences? The Amazon Rainforest has been described as the "Lungs of our Planet" because it provides the essential environmental world service of continuously recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen. More than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. Literally, do people value their lives? It seems when all of the destroying happens, people don’t have this in the back of their minds.
It’s all for a profit. By destroying one species of an animal you can permanently destroy an environment. Not just animals for example; The U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified 3000 plants that are active against cancer cells. 70% of these plants are found in the rainforest. Twenty-five percent of the active ingredients in today's cancer-fighting drugs come from organisms found only in the rainforest. So what if we completely wipe out all of that? People with cancer would have a higher chance to become more ill and die. And another health statistic with the benefits of our rainforests, currently, 121 prescription drugs currently sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. And while 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less than 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
Most of our food also comes from there; at least 80% of the developed world's diet originated in the tropical rainforest. Its bountiful gifts to the world include fruits like avocados, coconuts, figs, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, bananas, guavas, pineapples, mangos and tomatoes; vegetables including corn, potatoes, rice, winter squash and yams; spices like black pepper, cayenne, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar cane, turmeric, coffee and vanilla and nuts including Brazil nuts and cashews. If you can’t already see before I go on with other things how much this would detrimentally harm our Earth, I wouldn’t know how else to get it into your mind. Just because trees are being cut down and you think it has nothing to do with you, you are greatly mistaken. It harms you in every single way possible. Statistics are very real and we need to pay attention to them before things get worse. Your health could decrease, you could have some sort of a food shortage, animals that are very necessary in our world will cease to exist and there are already numbers close to extinction already.

Nature is a part of you and we must understand that and care for it like we would care for ourselves. Personally, being outdoors just in woods close by gives me the most ultimate feeling of infinity. It’s beautiful and there is nothing else in the world like it. It makes me feel one with everything and it can also give you a sense of a higher power. Like, if you look around you how can you not think that the world as you know it is just solely that? There must be more to this. So why would you ever want to get rid of that? So here is what I suggest we do: Experts agree that by leaving the rainforests intact and harvesting its nuts, fruits, oil-producing plants, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more economic value than if they were cut down to make grazing land for cattle or for timber. There are more benefits of that than by destroying it. Also, if managed properly, the rainforest can provide the world's need for these natural resources on a perpetual basis.
Promoting the use of these sustainable and renewable sources could stop the destruction of the rainforests. By creating a new source of income harvesting the medicinal plants, fruits nuts, oil and other sustainable resources, the rainforests is be more valuable alive than cut and burned. Sufficient demand of sustainable and ecologically harvested rainforest products is necessary for preservation efforts to succeed. Purchasing sustainable rainforest products can effect positive change by creating a market for these products while supporting the native people's economy and provides the economic solution and alternative to cutting the forest just for the value of its timber. These are easy, beneficial ways to keep the earth intact with no messes or consequences and not at our expense. So why shouldn’t we take a stand? You know those activists who chain themselves to trees or something to protest? Why do some people automatically think their crazy, because they have a dream or belief? Or is it because they want this world to be healthy and strive for many years to come. Just because the “end of the world” isn’t in your lifetime doesn’t mean you have to be selfish enough to destroy it for future races.
“A new consciousness is developing in which sees the Earth as a single organism and recognizes an organism at war with itself, is doomed.”The world is like a ride at an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills, and its very brightly colored, and its very loud and its fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question - is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us. They say, 'Hey! Don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride.' And we kill those people. "Shut him up! I've got a lot invested in this ride! Shut him up!" Look at my furrows of worry! Look at my big bank account and my family! This has to be real."
It's just a ride. But we always kill those few guys that try to tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amuck. But it doesn't matter because it's just a ride and we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice, no effort, and no worries, no job, no savings of money; just a choice right now between fear and love."-Bill Hicks from the Zeitgeist movie.
I decided to add this in because it shows the different things we as humans begin to think about. The first sentence states that the Earth is one organism, but it is at war with itself. We argue over ridiculous things without recognizing the terrible things (like the consequences of cutting down rainforests) that are happening around us at a constant rate, therefore we are doomed because of our selfishness and blindness. People are not use to other people’s cultures and beliefs, the ultimate feeling a country seems to sustain for another is fear, and fear creates the masses, so it is a choice right now between fear and love; love being your choice to stand up right now and take action for this Earth and therefore for yourself and humans to come. Or choose fear, and there we are eternally doomed.

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