Like a forlorn and unclaimed suitcase on an airport carousel the “Save the Brazilian Rainforest” email comes round again. Filled with hope and purpose it comes and goes but with no one to claim it. It may have been three or four years ago since I first added my name to the petition. I was appalled that something so majestic as the Amazonian Rainforest could be ground to chips for a fast buck. I was quick to add my name and pass it onto my friends. But the mail seems to be in a loop.
Later I found out that the ‘call to action’ to petition the Brazilian nt was long out of date. The motion to convert an area 4 times the size of Portugal to agriculture never came to the vote and email@example.com isn’t there any more to collect your petition if you happen to be the 400th on the list. So the rainforest needs your action more than ever.
If you have received the “Save the Brazilian Rainforest” circular email, (if you have a computer it’s hard to believe you haven’t) then you will have been appalled at the scale of what was proposed and the pathetic use to which this incredible treasure was to be put. I’m afraid the situation is much worse.
In less than the time it takes to read this sentence and take a sharp intake of breath an area of ancient forest the size of a football pitch will have been destroyed. You will hear people talking about saving something for our grandchildren, the urgency is much more immediate. For instance according to The World Bank most of Indonesian Borneo will have been logged out by the time President Bush and Mr Blair call the next elections. A vast and teeming cradle of life reduced to plywood and dust. According to Greenpeace, in the year 02/03 10,000 square miles of virgin Amazon rainforest was felled. Last month I visited a campaign in Lapland where the last scraps of European ancient forest are threatened by the paper industry.
There doesn’t appear to be a place on earth where forests stand that somebody isn’t intent on cutting it down. The stark truth is that we are likely to be the last humans to ever witness the ancient forest. We are set to leave a legacy of monoculture. We will take the great primates, thousands of tribal languages, birds of paradise in fact all of paradise itself to our graves unless we act NOW and with the strength of conviction that we have until now reserved for times of great peril.
I ask you first to understand for yourself the scale of the disaster. These websites will provide an authoritive view. Greenpeacehttp://www.greenpeace.org.uk/forests/forestthreat.cfm EIA http://www.eia-international.org/index_shocked.shtml Global Witness http://www.globalwitness.org/ Other Rainforest links http://rain-tree.com/links.htm
Then take you must take action. The earth needs you to stop buying the things you don’t need. Despite all the work by environmental groups to educate us in the developed world about the dangers of our growing consumer demands we are destroying the world at an ever-increasing rate. At the very time we need them most we are cutting the forests to satisfy the demand for throwaway goods and convenience food.
Sign petitions for sure just make sure they’re current and can make a difference. When it comes to feeding to the consumer monster that’s stripping the earth bare the best thing you can do with your shopper’s signature is leave it in the pen.
Ken Finn, Author, “My Journey with a Remarkable Tree”