By the time you finish reading this very sentence, an area of forest equivalent to two football fields is cleared somewhere on the planet. This is horrifying considering trees are the literal lungs of our world; they provide us with vital oxygen, pull harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and allow life as we know it to exist. However, deforestation runs rampant in countries around the world, particularly in Myanmar.
Almost all of Myanmar’s land is covered by forests and they are among the country’s most valuable natural resources. But sadly, they’ve been nearly depleted thanks to illegal logging, which helped fund the former military regime of Myanmar. Moreover, with the rapid expansion of commercial agriculture and infrastructure, Myanmar has seen an increased rate of deforestation in recent years.
Thankfully, the newly-elected democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar has recently placed a ban on logging operations in an effort to battle deforestation!
Billions of dollars worth of timber and pulpwood is exported worldwide each year, with most of the profits benefiting logging corporations instead of local people who actually rely on the forests as a source of food and income. But thanks to this ban, this highly lucrative business may be coming to an end in Myanmar once and for all.
Moreover, this ban is incredible for the planet (you know, that lil’ thing!), because the effects of logging are very far reaching – from exacerbating climate change, to stripping wild animals of their homes, to injuring wildlife (like elephants, who are forced to work for the logging industry!), to displacing indigenous populations, it’s due time that logging is banned.
Now, it’s time for other countries like the U.S. to follow suit. After all, deforestation, driven by forces such as the logging industry, is responsible for about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions – that’s more emissions than the entire global transportation sector. And deforestation is one of the driving factors behind the mass extinction of the world’s species. In fact, around 52 percent of the world’s wildlife has disappeared in the past 40 years alone! But logging isn’t the only culprit in this act. Deforestation is happening to make space for palm oil plantations, or to create more space to grow feed for livestock. If the U.S. truly has plans to combat climate change, then it has to act now. We’ve got to stick up for our forests – if we don’t, who will?
How You Can Help
To learn how you can remove your consumption habits from this vicious practice check out these resources:
Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons