Rainforests cover only a small part of the earth's surface – about 2% – yet they are one of the world’s most important natural regions because they:
REDUCE CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS OR GREENHOUSE GASES
Clearing and burning rainforests releases vast amounts of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, ozone and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. Each year, deforestation contributes 23-30% of all the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according the Rainforest Action Network. This is more than double the emissions of all the world’s cars and trucks combined. When you save 2.471 acres of rainforest it cleans 1 ton of CO2 from our air.
By saving the plants and trees of the rainforest you are contributing twofold – first by eliminating the continuing release of these greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and the subsequent destruction brought about by burning our most precious storage containers – the trees – and second by reversing the existing carbon dioxide emissions through the absorption of carbon by the plants and trees. Trees in the rainforest work like the lungs of the earth in reverse fashion from our own breathing. Trees absorb carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere and release clean oxygen. The rainforest is the Single greatest source of the air that we breathe, accounting for a full 20%.
Saving the rainforest is critical to maintaining clean air and a healthy environment. Save your rainforest one acre at a time and you absorb nearly a half ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) – or one ton of CO2 for every 2.471 acres. Reducing CO2 emissions reduces the thinning of the ozone layer. Tropical rainforests have the highest mean net primary production of any terrestrial ecosystem, meaning an acre of rainforest stores more carbon than an acre of any other vegetation type.
HELP REGULATE THE WEATHER PATTERNS OF THE EARTH
The rainforest acts as the world's thermostat by regulating temperatures and weather patterns. For example, when forests are cut down, less moisture goes into the atmosphere and rainfall declines, which can lead to drought. This impacts the world’s The Condition of the Rainforest Affect the Whole Worldwater cycle and ultimately the world’s water supply.
“Trees are like big air conditioners,” says Environment Commissioner Sadhu Johnston. They lower the temperature, filter air, remove carbon dioxide, absorb storm water and provide shade and beauty. As rainforest is burned or even cut down, fewer trees equate to higher temperatures everywhere.
An analysis in the journal Science in March of 2007 estimates that by 2040 there may be no summer sea ice in the Arctic. Vanishing sea ice shifts wind patterns in a way that intensifies midlatitude storms, increasing wintertime precipitation over Western and Southern Europe, while reducing rainfall in the American West. The American West has been experiencing historic drought since 1998 according to a study led by Lamont-Doherty’s Richard Seager.
As temperatures rise in the Arctic, worldwide biodiversity could be negatively impacted because migratory species rely on the Artic as a place for breeding and feeding. Therefore, deforestation leads not only to destruction of homes for animals in rainforests, but around the world as well.
*According to NASA, Canada’s glaciers have significant ties to the changing climate of the world, and it seems likely that they may relate to future rise in sea level. Areas like those in Canada help keep the climate cool and contain huge amounts of freshwater in their ice sheets, ice caps, and glaciers. Worldwide, these polar regions contain water equating to roughly 220 feet of sea level.
"The ice caps in the Canadian Arctic are shrinking, and though they are relatively small compared to areas like Greenland and Antarctica, their short-term contributions to sea level cannot be ignored,” said Head of the Cryospheric Sciences Branch at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Waleed Abdalati.
There is no doubt our weather patterns are changing. Whether we call it Global Warming or just Climate Change, 10 of the warmest winters globally on record since 1880 have occurred since 1995, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Carbon dioxide is believed to be responsible for approximately half of the global warming effect, according the Rainforest Action Network. Save Your Rainforest and you preserve the very trees that filter emissions and shade the earth, providing a natural regulator to the weather patterns ultimately over your city and your home.
HOUSE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Rainforests are home to indigenous peoples who have lived there for thousands of years. Many of these people have a culture of harvesting and maximizing the use of the plants within the rainforests. As the people and tribes die out, so does the knowledge of how to harness the rainforest’s benefits. Shamans of the indigenous people hold medicinal secrets their tribes have been using for thousands of years. Most of these knowledgeable medicine men are elderly, and if they die without passing along what they know about implementing plants in medicine, this information could be lost forever.
Today all the rainforests combined house and support 90% of the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty worldwide. These people depend upon the rainforest for their livelihoods. Destruction of the rainforest creates more poverty and more social challenges for all governments to address. Instead we need to put the proper measures in place to allow for sustainable agriculture and work directly with the people to defend and encourage their way of life and existence within and alongside the rainforest.
© CI/Haroldo Castro Wapishana/Macushi girl holding a
(Cebus olivaceus) Weeper capuchin, Guyana
ARE HOME TO UNIQUE LIVING ANIMAL SPECIES
The rainforest houses over two-thirds of all the living species in the world. 50 to 70 million different life forms live in the rainforests, yet we are destroying a conservative estimate of almost 9,000 species a year, most of which are coming from the rainforest. “This level of mass extinction is unsurpassed except for the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. And this time extinction is occurring at a much faster rate.” Take for example the charming black-headed caiques (Pionites melanocephala), also known as seven-color parrots or the black-headed parrot, that lives in the rainforest canopy. They are threatened with habitat loss and capture for the pet trade.
© CI, John Martin
Amphibians are like the canary in the coal mine. When the air in the mineshaft is bad, or contains too much carbon dioxide, the canary dies. Amphibians are disappearing at alarming rates and scientists are scrambling to understand the causes. Can you imagine a world without frogs, salamanders and caecilians? Yet recent field research has confirmed that one-third of these species are near extinction.
Sometimes extinction means the loss of knowledge. Take for example the gastric brooding frog of Australia. “This frog which comprised a genus with just two species is now extinct. With it we have lost the opportunity to understand its bizarre method of turning off production of hydrochloric acid in its stomach and research that may have helped us treat ailments such as stomach ulcers,” says Dr. Robin D. Moore, Amphibian Conservation Officer, Regional Programs Division for Conservation International.
For more information about Unique Rainforest Animals please click here.
HARBOR PLANT LIFE CRITICAL TO OUR SURVIVAL
Rainforests harbor 70% or over 2,000 of the plants identified as having anti-cancer characteristics by the US National Cancer Institute. Destroying the rainforest is taking away medicines critical to treating major illness and the source of many of the medicines currently used today. But even more critical than that is the fact that less than one percent of the tropical rainforest species have even been analyzed for their medicinal value. We could very well be destroying the cure for cancer or AIDS.
Rainforests are the earth’s oldest continuous ecosystems; located primarily around the earth’s equator, they were spared destruction during the ice ages. Fossil records show that the forests of Southeast Asia have existed in more or less their present form for 70 to 100 million years. Keeping the rainforests in their pristine state allows the ability to continue our research into the oldest living plant vegetation in the world and someday finding the cure for a multitude of diseases.
EXTEND OUR QUALITY OF LIFE
The earth's forests are in crisis. We've already lost 80% of old growth forests worldwide, a figure that increases to 95% in the United States. According to the United Nations, at least 37.5 million acres of rainforests are lost annually – an area the size of Georgia. Despite the relatively small land area they cover, at only about 2%, rainforests are home to about half of the planet’s 5 to 10 million plant and animal species Rainforests are disappearing. Originally, 6 million square miles of tropical rainforest existed worldwide. But as a result of deforestation, only 2.6 million square miles remain. We lose 6,000 acres of rainforest every hour, 56,000 square miles each year. Join our efforts to provide a renewable source of clean air to breathe, to protect unique plants and animals, to reverse global warming and greenhouse effects, to protect indigenous people and to sustain their way of life by buying our products and protecting at least one acre of rainforest for one year. We at Save Your World pledge to help Save Your Rainforest - one acre each time you purchase just one product.
1 PRODUCT = 1 ACRE OF RAINFOREST SAVED FOR 1 YEAR
Guyana is home to one of the largest, unspoiled rainforest on Earth. Learn more about how this rainforest impacts YOUR world.