🌲International Day of Forests🌲
21st March 2021
Too precious to lose
When we drink a glass of water, write in a notebook, take medicine for a fever or build a house, we do not always make the connection with forests. And yet, these and many other aspects of our lives are linked to forests in one way or another.
Forest sustainable management and their use of resources are key to combating climate change, and to contributing to the prosperity and well-being of current and future generations. Forests also play a crucial role in poverty alleviation and in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate.
The theme of the International Day of Forests for 2021 is "Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being." The restoration and sustainable management of forests help address the climate-change and biodiversity crises. It also produces goods and services for sustainable development, fostering an economic activity that creates jobs and improves lives.
This year’s theme fits into the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), a call for the protection and revival of ecosystems around the world.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns. (sentences moved up from the last para).
The organizers are the United Nations Forum on Forests and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with Governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and other relevant organizations in the field.
The biggest threats to our forests
Wildfires are now burning more frequently and more severe than we've seen before! However this is not the biggest threat that our forests face today, although the more forest we continue losing, the more frequent and severe natural disasters are likely to become.
Did you know that animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation?
Thats right! People have been deforesting the Earth for thousands of years, primarily to clear land for crops or livestock. Now days, most of the land we clear is used to either graze cattle or to grow mono-crops to feed the cattle kept in feedlots.
This is why David Attenborough famously says:
“We Must Change Our Diet. The Planet Can’t Support Billions of Meat-Eaters”
And he is 100% correct, it is now more evident than ever that we simply don't have enough land to feed our growing population with meat and dairy, nor can our planets ecosystems be sustained in this manner to continue supporting our very lives on this planet.
If you would like to learn more about the devastating effects that animal agriculture has on not only our forests but our planet I would highly recommend watching this documentary film:
Deforestation often occurs for multiple reasons at once, such as the demand for the timber/pulp as well as the land that the forest inhabits, typically for the use of unsustainable land management practices.
According to National Geographic:
"Toilet paper wipes out 27,000 trees a day
Worldwide, the equivalent of almost 270,000 trees is either flushed or dumped in landfills every day and roughly 10 percent of that total is attributable to toilet paper, according to the latest issue of World Watch magazine. “Meanwhile, growing populations, adoption of Western lifestyles, and sanitation improvements in developing countries are driving the increased use..."
Mono-cropping of palm for palm oil has also become a huge contributing factor to deforestation.
When a single species of tree or plant is 'mono-cropped' it destroys the biodiversity of life that would otherwise inhabit the forest ecosystem that was displaced by a single crop.
What can you do?
There are a number of things you can do to help prevent deforestation, let's go through some of the solutions that we can easily implement in our every day lives to turn the tide on deforestation:
Reducing or eliminating your consumption of meat and dairy is the single most effective measure you can decide to take to do your part in preventing deforestation.
Choosing recycled paper or cardboard product over virgin pulp products such as my Eco Note Book which is not only made of recycled paper but one tree is also planted for each copy!
FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified products helps forests remain thriving environments for generations to come, by helping you make ethical and responsible choices at your local supermarket, bookstore, furniture retailer, and beyond. FSC certified forests have to meet rigorous standards. This means FSC certified forests are healthy, and benefit local communities as well as providing jobs for workers. FSC certification tracks the wood from the forest to the shelf. So when you see the FSC label on a product, you can be sure that the paper or timber came from responsible sources.
Who gives a crap offers sustainable toilet paper either made from recycled paper or the more luxurious bamboo TP which is still far better than virgin tree pulp.
Checking ingredients in products you are looking at buying to see if they contain palm oil and making an informed decision to chose an alternative which does not contain palm oil.
Finally, once you have made some of these changes you might want to further your impact by supporting reforestation projects around the world! We use a subscription service called Ecologi, who will offset your carbon footprint and plant trees for you around the world where they are needed most! Check out our 'virtual forest' and sign up today!